The vestibule of New Covenant Presbyterian Church became a food-packaging operation two weekends ago, Saturday, May 7, as church members, and those from other churches, boxed and sent away 10, 000 meals to help stop world hunger.
Under the umbrella of the non-profit organization Stop Hunger Now, whose mission is to “end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources,” as stated on its website, New Covenant teamed up with four other relatively “small” Presbyterian churches – Ampthill, Salem, Louisa and Bethlehem – to accomplish this immense feat.
For Judy Lee, parish nurse at New Covenant and co-chair of the church’s Nurture and Outreach Committee, the organization who sponsored the event, their efforts are needed around the world.
“We are very fortunate in our country to have enough food to feed our bodies; we’re very fortunate we are not hungry,” she said. “My church is not hungry, my family is not hungry. For other countries who have had [natural disasters], their food sources have been destroyed by Mother Nature … and I think with our congregation, our small congregation, we will make a world of difference to 10,000 plus.”
It took a total of $2,500 for the five churches to host the event, a quarter for each meal, with Stop Hunger Now responsible for the logistics – supplying the food, the equipment, and means of distribution. Each paid $250, the difference coming from anonymous donors.
Roughly 40 people worked the assembly line that morning, both young and elderly, preparing the 10,000 meals in only two hours. Each bag contained six meals, one-cup portions of rice, dehydrated soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, and a vitamin packet of 21 essential vitamins and minerals.
Pastor Felecia Douglass first brought the idea of hosting the event to the church after seeing it successfully implemented elsewhere. Though grateful to have the help of four other churches, Douglass feels the event said something about the power of small churches.
“In a big world that worships big things, small churches kind of feel like they don’t do big projects, that we just do small things. We have kind of a low self-esteem,” said Douglass. “I think [this] will show the community that when small churches band together, they can do amazing, big things.”
In two fast-paced hours, the meals were measured, boxed, and stacked aboard a large Stop Hunger Now truck, ready for its over-seas dissemination.
“The objective is a way without hunger. We feel confidently that there’s plenty of food in the world to feed those who are hungry,” said Mike Nelson, assistant program manager for Stop Hunger Now, the man leading the operation. “It’s just a matter of us willing to make a bit of a sacrifice to make that happen.”
For more information on New Covenant Presbyterian Church and its upcoming events, services, or gatherings, visit www.newcovenantrichmond.org . Also, check out www.stophungernow.org  for more insight on what Stop Hunger Now does around the world locally.