Members of the congregation at St. Boniface help pack more than 10,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now.
By 11:30 a.m. on Saturday a group of more than 70 volunteers at St. Boniface Episcopal Church celebrated surpassing their goal.
The goal set for the members of the congregation was to package 10,000 meals for the Stop Hunger Now initiative. They managed to pack 10,240 meals that will be shipped to any of the 73 countries the organization serves.
Event organizer Janie Ewell came up with the idea after participating in a similar event with her previous congregation in Venice. Six months ago Ewell moved to Osprey and joined St. Boniface on Siesta Key. She immediately wanted to make an impact with her new congregation and remembered the effort with Stop Hunger Now.
“It’s a very doable outreach effort in a short amount of time, on site,” Ewell said.
Participants were given initial instructions and a brief training session before forming assembly lines to fill bags with rice and then box
them to ship. Some member scooped rice while other measured dehydrated vegetables to add to the rice. Once the bags were filled they were handed off to the next station where they are weighed and sealed before being boxed up.
Within each bag of rice is enough for six servings. Program manager for Stop Hunger Now in Florida Rebecca Waggoner says the meals will benefit school feeding programs, hospitals and crisis relief. The bags of rice are served with different foods that vary by county but can be used as a base for meals because it is fortified with vitamins and nutrients.
“Regardless of dietary or religious restrictions any one can eat these meals,” Waggoner said.
Every time the group reached the benchmark of 1,000 more meals packed a member was selected to bang a gong to celebrate the success.
“Not only are we helping to nourish globally, there’s a spiritual nourishment with the volunteers going on today,” Ewell said.