We’re Better Together: Meal Packaging Changes Lives Here and in Africa

06/17/14

For years, Jeff Davis has been serving troubled neighborhoods in Fullerton, California. This area, just outside of Los Angeles, has long dealt with gang violence and drug trafficking, among other problems. But this spring, Jeff’s church, The Well, along with several other local churches, took part in a citywide day of service to get their community involved in something positive. The service day, called Love Fullerton, included about 60 different projects for helping others. 

 
For his part in Love Fullerton, Jeff decided his church would host an event where local families could package meals to send to children in Africa. In a neighborhood more accustomed to receiving help than giving it, this seemed like a crazy plan. But Jeff and his friends believed it was the perfect project for this community. 
 
Families from The Well wanted to give a gift to the families in Fullerton
Families from The Well wanted to give a gift to the families in Fullerton by letting them experience the joy of packaging meals for children in Africa.
 
“This was a great opportunity for us to do something more out-of-the-box and invite neighbors themselves to be the ones giving help instead of receiving help,” says Jeff. The church raised enough money for the residents to package and send 20,000 meals through Children of the Nations (COTN). 
 
The morning of the event, a COTN truck pulled up and transformed Fullerton’s Maple Community Center into a meal packaging extravaganza. Jeff waited expectantly. He had no idea what the turnout would be, but he was encouraged by how many residents showed up. “People I’d never met before showed up and said, ‘I’m here to help,'” Jeff says. 
 
These meals help keep children healthy and focused in school!
                                    These meals help keep children healthy and focused in school!
 
With the event in full swing, Jeff looked around and saw more than one hundred people from the neighborhood and local churches—people from different ethnicities and backgrounds—working side by side, wearing hair nets, and having a great time doing it together. About half of the people packaging meals were from Fullerton.
 
Jeff saw one teenage boy, Louie, working alongside his father. Louie’s dad had only recently come back into his life. “This was exactly what we were hoping for,” says Jeff, “two people from the hood with their own problems and issues serving as equals.” 
 
Jeff says that what COTN is doing—caring for children physically and spiritually—is exactly what his church and other local churches are trying to do in the Fullerton community. Jeff wants residents to see how valuable they are and how God can use them in positive ways. These meals not only create opportunity for the children who will receive them, they can open opportunities for those who package them.
 
These meals are helping to build world changers both here and in Africa These meals are helping to build world changers both here and in Africa
                              These meals are helping to raise world changers both here and in Africa.
 
“I think about Louie,” Jeff says. “I’m sure he’s never imagined himself as a nation transformer. But an experience like this can broaden his dreams and expectations beyond growing up, getting a job at a fast food place, and trying to stay out of a gang. I really hope this implants a vision in the minds of people who may not have thought of themselves as world changers.” 
 
Fullerton put the fun in feeding children in Africa!
                                                Fullerton put the fun in feeding children in Africa!
 
Jeff wants to do this event again next year and he believes even more families will show up. “I think the community at large was able to see this was a great thing to be a part of,” says COTN’s local community representative Matt Radley. “The message we left was, we’re all created for a purpose, and this fulfills a purpose. We’re better together.”
 
Step into the big picture and set up a meal packaging event with your church or community!