High School Senior Sends 10,000 Meals to Sierra Leone


Thanks to the hard work of high school senior Ethan Flanagan, ten thousand meals are on their way to Sierra Leone. But these meals, packaged by Ethan and his friends, are doing more than feeding children. Ethan’s partnership with Children of the Nations (COTN) has also opened up a bigger world for him. “I think the biggest thing I’ve taken away from this experience,” he says, “is how good it is to help others. It really puts your own life in perspective.”

Inspired by his former youth pastor, Jeff Lander, now a COTN staff member, Ethan chose to package the meals as part of his senior graduation project at school. He set a goal of raising $2,500 for the meal ingredients and shipping costs, and worked hard last summer to reach that goal. Through odd jobs like painting and yard work, Ethan raised $800. But he says it was his church community from San Juan Baptist Church in Port Townsend, Washington, who really came through for him by packing the meals and raising the rest of the money. Forty people volunteered on a Saturday to help Ethan package the meals in just an hour and a half. 
“It was a big deal for him to do what he did,” says Dave Spoon, COTN’s meal packaging coordinator. Dave says he sees big potential in events like these. “I think it causes young people to realize there is more they can do and it doesn’t have to be all the way across the world.” And, he says, it impacted the people in Ethan’s school and church community. “I just saw a kid light up. I think he was really encouraged in his relationship with Christ and by the impact of what ten thousand meals can do in the world,” Dave says. “I hope for him this is a springboard.” 
“It’s definitely given me more of a respect for COTN,” says Ethan. “I’m excited to partner with them and do many more things.” 
“The one thing that really struck me about this was that it turned out to be so much easier than I thought it would be,” Ethan adds.  He hopes he can encourage anyone who thinks that doing something like this would be too hard.  “COTN really helps a lot and it’s much simpler than you envision it to be. Anybody can do it, that’s the truth, you’ve just got to commit.”
You can change a child’s life today. Team up with COTN and package meals for children in Africa and the Caribbean!