By Rebecca Wallace
Dunwoody United Methodist Church, in partnership with Rise Against Hunger, has brought together community volunteers to assemble dehydrated meals for children in need across the globe for the past decade through their annual Foodstock Event.
The challenges of 2020 meant the initiative would have to adapt this year, but the congregation and church leaders were determined to continue the vital work of feeding the hungry.
“With the effects of the pandemic, hunger is at an all-time high this year,” explains Chris Mixer, Director of Missions at Dunwoody UMC. “This year, our collective efforts allowed us to continue and expand Dunwoody UMC’s annual 'Foodstock' event last month.”
Physically distanced throughout the Dunwoody UMC campus, 1,100 volunteers worked nine shifts over two days in November. In addition to church members, the event has become an important outreach activity, inviting groups such as Girl Scouts and the National Charity League. Nearly 50 middle and high school youth helped as well.
“It’s always been a team initiative, but this year, especially, we really came together,” said Chris.
The volunteers assembled meals for Children of Vietnam, an organization based in North Carolina that provides outreach to vulnerable children in Vietnam. These meals are critical to keeping young preschool and kindergarten children healthy and able to continue going to school.
At the conclusion of Foodstock 2020, a total of 266,196 meals were packaged. This number brings Dunwoody UMC’s lifetime partnership with Rise Against Hunger to 3,024,282 meals sent around the world.
“All things are possible with God. That doesn’t stop during a pandemic. It just requires leaning into your faith in God and His providence," said Sean Taylor, co-chair of the event along with Bryan Muddiman. "The Holy Spirit clearly drove our planning, communications, and our execution of FoodStock in 2020. We feel so thankful that our congregation and community felt God’s call in each of them to feed his lambs.”
Rebecca Wallace is a communications consultant (and United Methodist) in Atlanta. This is the third story in a series on feeding the hungry during the pandemic. Read about a "Little" ministry that was sparked by an act of kindness at Bartow Community UMC and a Thanksgiving outreach at Cascade UMC that covered a week's worth of food for 2,000 families.