Remembering Dale Carpenter: The Man Who Fed Thousands of Children

04/23/14

Familiar sounds fill the room at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church: laughter, the rustle of bags being filled with food, and the chant of “lentils, spice, chicken, rice!” But for the people here in Yakima, Washington, today is more than just their annual meal packaging event. Today they are remembering the life and work of Dale Carpenter, who was instrumental in making this ‘Feeding the 5,000’ event an annual affair.

 
It’s been 7 years and 400,000 meals since Dale’s first meal packaging event. But his legacy has extended far beyond those numbers. His focus in life was serving others, and he did this by supporting numerous charities, including Children of the Nations (COTN). Although cancer eventually slowed him down, Dale continued to serve others right up until the end. “Dale lived and breathed helping others,” says Shereen Stocker, a friend who now coordinates the event. “I think he felt that was his job in life.”
 
The 'Feeding the 5,000' event has grown immensely since Dale started it
The 'Feeding the 5,000' event has grown immensely since Dale started it several years ago. “Dale was the main cheerleader in getting the community involved,” says his friend, Shereen Stocker.
 
Dale’s passion for helping children in need was born out of his own experience. As a child growing up in a poor family, he experienced the kindness of others through charities and food banks. “He had such a heart for these kids because he knew what it was like to not have much,” Shereen says. “He knew there were kids dependent on these meals.”
 
Dale used the entire year to raise money for this event. Every January he hosted a popular and tasty Omelet Feed fundraiser. He had a deal with the local recycling center, where he regularly dropped off trash for cash. Dale wasn’t shy about asking anyone and everyone to give. He was known for his quick wit and his personality which was as big as his heart.
 
Dale was always raising money for charities
Dale was always raising money for charities. Every December, for four days, you could find him living in a cardboard box to raise money for the Salvation Army.
 
There was no secret to Dale’s fundraising success—he simply didn’t ask anyone to give what he hadn’t already given. “He gave 110 percent,” says Shereen. “You just saw his example and you knew you wanted to give even a small amount of what he gave.”
 
Dale’s service for others was tireless. “His focus was right,” says Dave Spoon, COTN’s national meal packaging coordinator. “He was working for Jesus.” 
 
“This meal packaging event is now part of Dale’s legacy,” says Fraser Ratzlaff, COTN’s Seattle-area community representative. “It will continue for years to come because of the advocacy work he did.”
 
Through Dale’s work, thousands children have been fed and even sponsored!
                               Through Dale’s work, thousands children have been fed and even sponsored!
 
For Dale Carpenter, it wasn’t about making his mark on the world—although he did—it was about being the hands and feet of Christ for as many people as he could reach. “Dale would be embarrassed by this honor, but if it can inspire others to help those in need, I'm sure he would be thrilled,” says Shereen. “He would say, don't give till it hurts, give until it feels good.”