Local congregations help fight hunger abroad

Published 6:08 am Monday, June 23, 2008

By Staff
Operation Sharehouse calls forth willing ‘baggers’
Staff Writer
Sunday is usually a day to relax. This Sunday came as an exception for members of area United Methodist churches. Volunteers with Asbury United Methodist Church, as well as Wharton, Wares and Bath, spent the afternoon on assembly lines bagging meals to be shipped to Third World countries.
The missionary work, done in the halls of Asbury, was for Operation Sharehouse, a program run by Stop Hunger Now. Stop Hunger Now is a non-profit, international relief organization based out of Raleigh.
Operation Sharehouse is a two-year-old initiative that gives willing volunteers an opportunity to do missionary work at-home instead of abroad.
With proceeds from its community day, held May 17, Asbury decided to organize an Operation Sharehouse “bagging.”
The church joined forces with it’s fellow Wharton, Wares and Bath congregations to raise $2,540 for the operation. The cost to Stop Hunger Now to bag each meal is 20 cents, therefore the congregations raised enough money for the organization to provide 12,825 bagged meals to those in need.
The operation commenced at 3 p.m., with strict organization to provide the maximum output of meals in the shortest possible time. The 55 volunteers were given specific duties, such as mixing ingredients, weighing bags and sealing bags.
The various ingredients were mixed to create a “dehydrated rice casserole,” he said.
The fortified rice-soy meal, as each bag reads, can be cooked with boiled water.
The meals are sent to vocational, literary and missionary schools in various Third World countries.
Operation Sharehouse has reached 18 different countries in the last two years, according to Kearney.
He has seen the impact of providing nutritious meals for free to these schools.
The food operation goes a long way in combating world hunger, he said.
Operations have already been done by various organizations in Hyde and Martin counties. Kearney has been impressed by the outreach of local congregations.
Kearney also explained that the outreach doesn’t stop with churches.
Rev. Caroline Pilgrim with Asbury United Methodist Church explained that the congregations wanted a way to directly help the less fortunate abroad.
Kearney put the operation in to perspective.
Pilgrim is glad to get her hands dirty for a good cause.