DALLAS — The Orange United Methodist Church does much more than provide its attendees opportunities to hear inspiring messages and sing uplifting Christian songs on Sunday mornings.
The little church nestled in the Back Mountain is attempting to reach the world, participating in the “Stop Hunger Now ” effort, as a part of an international relief agency fulfilling a commitment to end hunger over the next 15 years.
The program provides the blueprint for organizations to hold meal-packaging events and transport the completed packages to areas where people don’t have enough to eat.
In order to make that vision a reality, the church needs to collect $6,000. It is more than halfway to that goal, according to organizer Kay Love.
“The more funds we raise, the more meals we can provide for those in need,” said Love.
Organizers are also looking for volunteers of all ages.
“The more volunteers who come, the faster we will get the work done,” said Love. “They can come for an hour or stay for the whole event.”
The church held its first meal packaging event in 2014 with 70 volunteers packaging 10,000 meals.
Nolan Hedglin, 11, and his sister, Madison, 9, who both volunteered at that event, said it was a lot of fun and hoped to have the chance to do it again.
“The kids worked really hard,” said Jack Mokychic, an organizer of the event. “They did anything that we asked them to do.”
Love said this year’s Vacation Bible School held in June was focused on missions, and she looks forward to young attendees returning to the church to participate in the event.
A missionary to Haiti with her husband, Richard, Love credits the Stop Hunger Now effort with providing a positive and efficient means of feeding the hungry.
“Following our last event, we got an email detailing where the meals we packaged went,” she said. “We had a vision of those we were helping.”
Volunteers will measure ingredients, weigh and seal bags and pack the packages into shipping boxes.
Ingredients of the meal packages have been carefully selected to provide both nutrition and flavor. They include rice, soy, vegetables, flavoring, vitamins and minerals. Each package provides six servings.
Mokychic, who has attended the church with his family for more than 40 years, said in serving others, church members are making their own lives better.
He added church members also prepare meals for the Keystone Rescue Mission’s “Meal and a Message” program, with each participating member completing a specific task.
“Some of us cook, some of us transport food, some of us serve the meal,” he said. “We work together.”
The program also provides education in those countries on such topics as nutrition and planting small crops, according to Love.
Church organizers invite members of other churches and individuals to partner in the project.
“We’d welcome churches, organizations and individuals to join us in this mission,” said Love. “We look forward to this being a real community effort.”
Monetary donations for the project can be sent to the Orange United Methodist Church c/o 308 Village Road, Dallas, PA, 18612. For more information, call Pastor Ruth Liples at 570-333-4269.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6117 or on Twitter @TLGGibbons