Participants begin their shifts with an orientation that explains the process of packaging meals and the work of Stop Hunger Now. A Stop Hunger Now representative shares that the meals will ship to Burkina Faso, a small country in West Africa with one of the world’s lowest GDP’s immediately after the packaging is complete.
Volunteers are then informed that the world makes enough food to provide each person with four pounds a day. After learning that hunger is one of the world’s biggest problems with one of the simplest solutions, lead pastor, Rev. Dan Brown prays over the crowd before sending people of all
ages and capabilities to the gym, ready to make a difference.
Dunwoody UMC congregants, boy and girl scouts, and those who heard through word of mouth, crowd the stations in hair nets and glove to fill bags with rice, dehydrated vegetables, vitamin packets, and soy. Each bag, which makes six meals, is then weighed and sealed by volunteers.
There is a job for everyone inside the Dunwoody UMC gym. If volunteers are not at a station, they are opening and distributing food bags, transporting boxes to hand trucks, or sweeping up the excess rice from the floor.
The giant bags of food that line the gym walls diminish throughout the day as volunteers fill, package, seal, and dance to upbeat music. Everyone is in good spirits, and celebration ensues each time a thousand meals are completed with the loud smash of a gong.
People finish their shifts with their families, friends, and troops feeling accomplished and proud of their Saturday well spent.
Co-chair of Foodstock at Dunwoody, Sean Taylor credits Stop Hunger Now’s easy and inclusive system for making the event such a success.
“This is a very family friendly event that people can easily participate in, allowing them to broaden their circle of influence of giving to those much less fortunate.”
Dunwoody UMC wants to package more meals and engage more people next year. Associate pastor Keith Lawder hopes to open the event up to more churches.
“Imagine if we worked with other United Methodist Churches in the area,” he says, “we could easily package 1 million meals in one day.”
If you are interested in collaborating with Dunwoody UMC for Foodstock 2015, contact Keith Lawder at firstname.lastname@example.org