Feeding 5,000 Turns into Feeding 35,000!

05/15/08

“I originally heard about feeding programs through a friend of mine in Iowa who had worked with Feeding Kids International. They had packaged 1.5 million meals last year at their church! I thought that although my church is a lot smaller, we could certainly do something on a smaller scale. I contacted Feeding Kids International in Minnesota and they referred me to Children of the Nations right here in Washington state. Last summer, I contacted Dave Spoon and he told me he would be willing to work with us.

“We started our fundraising efforts after the first of the year. In Yakima, we get new phone books in January, so Dale Carpenter (one of my co-chairmen) came up the great idea that we could raise funds by collecting all the old phone books for recycling. Boy, did we recycle! We got old phone books from all the area hotels, many schools, one of the hospitals, many clinics, and many businesses. We also had two recycling days that we publicized where we collected aluminum cans, newspapers, magazines, and of course phone books. We collected over 8,000 lbs. of recyclables on those two days alone! We also had spaghetti feeds, an omelet feed, and soup suppers at the three churches who participated. We raised over $7,800, and then also got a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

“Our food packaging day was April 19th at Mt. Olive Lutheran in Yakima (Bethlehem Lutheran, Yakima & Peace Lutheran, and Selah were the other sponsoring churches). COTN staff members, Dave Spoon (COTN’s Feeding Coordinator) and Sam McCabe and Andy Chin (two AmeriCorps interns serving with COTN) came out to help us run the event. Without them, it would not have been possible. We had over 170 people volunteer to package the meals that day.

“Dale Carpenter, Diane Eilmes and myself were the co-chairs for the event. Along with the above groups that helped, we had help from the Yakima County Auditors, Rotary, and Yakima Soroptomists groups on the day of the packaging. We sent letters out to other area churches before the event in hopes that they could at least come and see if they may be interested in participating next year.

“We certainly feel that this was God blessed. Our original goal was 5,000 meals, as in how Jesus fed 5,000 in the Bible. Little did we know that God had other plans and we would package over 35,000 meals! I felt at times that I was just hanging on as God took us on this ride that was amazing and a wonderfully blessed journey. We hope that we can do this again next year and hope to get others in the community involved as well.”

In His Service,

Shereen Stocker – Yakima, Washington