CLEARWATER BEACH — Eighty-three members and friends of Chapel-By-The-Sea gathered recently to prepare 10,000 dehydrated meals for people in need.
It took them less than one hour, 45 minutes using a system established by Stop Hunger Now, which has provided more than 110 million nutritious meals to people in more than 43 countries since 1998.
The volunteers, dressed for the occasion in hairnets and plastic gloves, worked at a series of stations moving rice and other nutrients from large containers into individual plastic bags. Each bag holds enough food for one family’s daily nutritional needs.
The congregation also raised $2,500 to pay for shipping and other expenses.
Church member Ed Droste learned of the program from former schoolmate Steve Hickle, founder of Stop Hunger Now. Droste knew it would be a good fit for Chapel-By-The-Sea, considering that congregation’s ongoing efforts to help others.
Encouraged by this year’s participation, the workers are hoping to double the number of meals they’ll prepare next year.
The food will go directly to schools and orphanages affiliated with Stop Hunger Now. That not only puts the meals directly in the hands of the recipients, but makes it possible for children to obtain food by going to school instead of scavenging with their families in garbage dumps.
For more information on the international relief agency, go to www.stophungernow.org. For details on the congregation, go to www.chapelbythesea.net.