By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Senior Communications Specialist
Photo right: Mississippi Conference youth packed about 25,000 meals towards the goal during The Gathering.
Delphine Swanson's heart is dancing these days after receiving word that Mississippi United Methodists have exceeded a goal to pack one million meals for the hunger relief agency, Stop Hunger Now. Swanson, who is the wife of Bishop James Swanson Sr. of the Mississippi Area, is leading the charge that has resulted in 1,185,042 meals.
"We did it. Praise God. Congratulations on a job well done. With a grateful heart, I commend our conference for taking on this challenge and succeeding this challenge," she said.
During the annual conference session in June 2014, Swanson announced her wishes to make the target number before the next annual session rolled around. Many people attending the 2014 session got started right away. They participated in the kick-off assembly of the first 102,000 meals packed. After that, United Methodist groups were scheduling events just about every weekend across Mississippi and sharing their pictures on social media.
"It was such an honor to see churches, lay people, clergy, children, and youth, smiling, laughing and working hard to be of service to others. Thanks to each and every one of you who worked untiringly to make this project a success," said Swanson who often commented on the posts.
With two months to the start of the 2015 session, Swanson is reminding everyone their help is needed to meet the challenge issued by her husband for an additional 500,000 meals.
"Our theme is The POWER We and together we can accomplish this Mississippi Conference," she said.
Stop Hunger Now has a meal packaging program. They have perfected the assembly process that combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix -- plus vitamins and minerals into small meal packets. The food store easily, has a shelf-life of two years and transports quickly to those in need.
To organize a packaging event in your community or local church, contact Matt Casteel at firstname.lastname@example.org.