Members of Christ Church in East Greenwich London, along with people from the wider community, got together to help pack 10,000 meals for hungry young people in Zimbabwe.
This type of event, known as food packing, originally gained popularity in the United Sates, and is now taking place here in the UK; thanks to charity Feed the Hungry, who has adapted the method so that it works well for Church groups and communities.
Each meal costs 19p to produce, and is paid for by the Church group volunteering. Those involved raise the funds through fundraising events, or sometimes from the church’s mission budget. Other donors and members of the community pay for the extra costs involved, such as the cost of shipping.
Speaking to BBC Radio London about the event, Bishop Karowei from Christ Church said:
“I am so heartened by the people.
“I was humbled by the type of people who came out; for example, members of the youth group from Christ Church East Greenwich. Chose the activities, all of them; young people who were going out for the evening; they decided to come and help us to pack food and clothing.
And in that one night, we packed 10,000 bags of food, and each bag can feed five to six people.
“We had over 70 people of different age ranges, on a Friday night, who sacrificed their leisure evening, to come and pack food for children in refugee camps in Zimbabwe.”
The work done by Feed the Hungry and volunteers at events such as this, mean that they are able to feed 242,000 children in 21 countries every day. Some 3000 of these are in camps in Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Tanzania.
Mr Williams, the charities operations director, said:
“Each meal goes literally from the hand of a volunteer into the hands of child who is hungry. This really is a practical, hands-on way of responding to some of the areas around the world in greatest need.
“Knowing that a meal that was packed by hand, by a church community in Catford, will feed a child in Zimbabwe is a powerful thing. . . We go back and share with the church community the stories of the children they have fed.
“Hand to Hand also provides a valuable opportunity for churches to think about world mission and do something practical. . . It builds community in churches, and church groups can use food-packing events to broker connections with other parts of their community, with people who many not come to church.
“St Barnabas’s, Dulwich, recently advertised a food-packing event outside the church, and had lots of people who never came to church turn up to help.
“We also raise money for children through traditional means, such as child sponsorship, but we found people want to do more than just give: they want a hands-on and practical way of helping. Younger people, in particular, want to do more; they want an experience as well.”
To find out more about the charity, and to get involved, visit: https://feedthehungry.org.uk