On Saturday, Feb. 13, over 100 youth and their leaders gathered at NC Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount for the Heritage District Youth Stop Hunger Now event. After a wonderful worship and communion service, the youth participated in packing 13, 608 meals. Vicki Lawrence, Heritage District Youth Coordinator, said, “We are delighted to hear that the meals from our meal packaging have been shipped in a container to ORPHANetwork in Nicaragua.”
Do you believe it’s possible to end world hunger? Global hunger and poverty affects more than 800 million people due to lack of food accessibility or chance for equal distribution. In North Carolina alone, 17.3% of households are at risk for hunger. With the Annual Conference 2016 theme of “Generosity,” it is natural that United Methodists would engage in ministries around hunger relief, sustainable agriculture projects, and clean water initiatives.
Barely a year old, Stop Hunger Now (SHN) found a home at Fairmont United Methodist Church in Raleigh, in early 2000 – and stayed for over eleven years. Meal packaging began December 10, 2005, when 50 volunteers formed an assembly line at a Raleigh warehouse for the inaugural SHN meal packaging event and packaged 20,000 meals.
Many churches in the North Carolina Conference along with colleges and persons attending Annual Conferences have participated in a Stop Hunger Now food packaging event. “Meal packaging provides a highly visible point of entry for people to get involved in eradicating hunger,” says the Rev. Steve Hickle, who was pastor at Fairmont at the time of the first meal packaging event and is now Faith Outreach Director for SHN. “By offering this experience, we’re having an impact on education and development in many places,” he says. “We’re one piece of a growing movement, and we invite others to join with us in any place they can help end world hunger.”
SHN has moved from 1.7 million meals that first year to over 55 million meals in the tenth year. The world headquarters Raleigh location has expanded to 20 U.S. locations, seven more in six countries, with meals being packaged on six continents.
Another hunger relief ministry supported by the NC Conference, Bread for the World, in cooperation with many North Carolina civic, congregational and business leaders, will sponsor the 2016 statewide Bread for the World convention on March 19 at Highland United Methodist Church in Raleigh with the discussion theme, “Abolishing Hunger: A Moral Mandate.” The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Ray Buchanan, President and Founder of Stop Hunger Now. Rev. Hickle will participate in the panel discussion.
Other agencies and hunger/agricultural ministries supported by the NC Conference can be found on pages 16-27 in the 2016 Mission and Service Book.