Track the SHN Goal on Facebook
By Tamica Smith Jeuitt, Sr. Communications Specialist
Photo right: Delphine Swanson packed meals during the 2014 annual conference session where volunteers surpassed a goal of 100,000 meals by nearly 2,200.
Nearly three months since the official launch of the conference-wide campaign to pack one million meals for the hunger relief agency, Stop Hunger Now, organizers are reporting that Mississippi United Methodists are over the half-way point towards the goal, with 575,640 meals packed. One person who is not surprised by this figure is the first lady of the Mississippi Annual Conference, Delphine Swanson; she is leading the effort and encouraging congregations, United Methodist groups and individuals to get involved.
"The reason is because I know the Mississippi Conference can do it. We believe in what the Bible says, we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us...We are Living Out The POWER of We," said Swanson. Living Out The POWER of We is the Mississippi Annual Conference theme.
It took the strength of more than 100 volunteers on one Wednesday evening in July to pack roughly 20,000 meals at Main Street UMC in Hattiesburg. Mickye Kizer said they did it in just over two hours. "We had a sub and serve for people to come together and eat supper and pack meals for Stop Hunger Now... everybody stayed busy and stayed on task and worked really hard."
Minda Purdie, one of the participants wrote about her experience stating that, "Giving money to a hunger offering is good (and needed), but participating in an event like this connects you to service in a deeper way. Actually handling these meals, knowing they would feed six other people I will likely never meet, changed the way I looked at each small bag." Click here to ready Purdie's entire message.
While churches are doing their part, groups like the United Methodist Men are also pitching in to make sure the conference exceeds the one million mark.
Tracking the Goal on Facebook
The Mississippi Conference Missions team is helping bring awareness to the One Million Meals Campaign and tracking the goal. Volunteer, Cheryl Farr created the Facebook page MS Conference Goal of 1,000,000 Meals for Stop Hunger Now. On the page people can find out where packing events are scheduled, as well as view pictures and read about the various meal packaging events. People are welcomed to "like" the page and post supporting comments. Swanson said, "The Missions team has provided us with a lot of information that will help us track our success."
Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief agency that has been fulfilling its commitment to end hunger for more than 15 years. The organization has coordinated the distribution of food and other lifesaving aid to children and families all over the world.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 stores easily, has a shelf-life of two years and transports quickly to those in need.
The conference was notified recently by Matt Casteel, the Mississippi Stop Hunger Now program manager, that their meals had been shipped to their partner, Mission of Hope, to reach those in need.
If you are interested in hosting a meal packaging event, contact Matt Casteel at email@example.com. To share pictures and stories from your event, send them to Cheryl Farr at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Click here to view the Mississippi Conference's Stop Hunger Now Facebook page.