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Four congregations come together to pack meals for Ukraine

Posted: May 25 2022 at 02:23 PM
Author: By Cindy Law, Mt. Carroll UMC member


Ricemeal2

More than 50 volunteers, ages 6 to 90, from four neighboring UMC churches in Carroll County gather to pack rice meals for Ukraine. Together they assembled 1,800 bags in just a couple of hours and raised more than $1,800 to make this mission event happen.

Last fall, a group of ladies from the Carroll County area traveled to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) outside Chatham, Ill., the disaster relief facility that's situated on an 8-acre campus, four miles south of Springfield.

While volunteering on-site, these ladies learned of another way to meet a need, allowing an opportunity for more volunteers without making a three-and-a-half-hour trip. We could host a mission experience right here in Carroll County. Driving back from Chatham, the ladies talked and brainstormed how to make this happen. The group decided to take it back to the Mt. Carroll and Savanna United Methodist Churches for consideration.

Both Pastor Nadan and Pastor Dave were on board with the idea. The Mt. Carroll Church Outreach committee got the ball rolling, asking if the Savanna church would be willing to host the event. With their willingness, Mt. Carroll confirmed a date with the MMDC to host a Rice Meal Packing event.

The rice meal packets include a vitamin pack, dried vegetables, soy, and rice. Each packet weighs 390 grams and feeds six people. At the time of our commitment to doing this, the cost of each packet was $1.00. How many packets can we do?

After some discussion with the Argo Fay and Thomson United Methodist churches, we decided 1,200 was a suitable number.

With donations from parishioners, we raised $1,871 for the project from these four UMCs of Carroll County.

Now, how many volunteers do we need? How do we get the supplies to meet our ambitious goal? Talking with
MMDC, we knew they would have the supplies if we had the funds. How would we get them to Savanna? A
lot of questions needed answers.

A huge question remained as to where these meal kits would go. Little did we know at the time what would be
happening in our world by April of 2022.

Ricemeal1

April 2022 came quickly! Our project date was April 30. We had 55 plus volunteers signed up and a trailer load of supplies to pick up in Chatham. Two brave not-so-young women agreed to drive down to get the trailer on April 28. The next day, the Savanna UMC fellowship hall became a work area for those 50-plus volunteers to assemble those 1,800 rice meal packets.

On April 30 at 9 a.m., we had all our volunteers gathered for instructions. By 9:35, we had five lines of ten workers and several runners ranging in age from 5 to 90, a job for people of all ages. By 11:45, we had filled our 1,800 rice meal bags, loaded them on the trailer, and started clean-up. Oh, and yes, these packets are being sent to Ukraine. On the 29th, MMDC put out a plea for volunteers at their site in Chatham as to help meet a request to fill 48,000 rice meal packets to be shipped out as soon as possible going to Ukraine.

As to feedback from our volunteers, all are ready to do it again, feeling it was a most rewarding experience.

Following is a quote from one of the ladies who helped, "For me, today was one of the most fulfilling experiences I will ever have. I could feel God's hands on mine as I worked. He was everywhere! I am humbled."

Other comments included: "everything was well organized and went smoothly." "When can we do this again?" "It was a fun and enjoyable day. We got to visit while we worked." "Maybe we could do it twice a year. All this and we will feed 10,800 people. AWESOME!!!!"

The trailer of packets and equipment were taken back to MMDC on May 2 and were included in a large
shipment to help those suffering in Ukraine.

Many hands indeed make light work, and we are so blessed to be able to help the less fortunate.

Operation Ukraine loaded and shipped

Update from MMDC: Our supporters have really stepped up volunteer and donation efforts to fill North Star Foundation's request to feed 288,000 people in Ukraine. In response, more than 400 volunteers gave
nearly 3,000 hours to fill 48,000 rice meal bags. Thanks to the generosity of time and financial support, on May 20, we loaded and shipped more than 40 pallets with 30 cases each. Thank you for helping feed thousands of people in Ukraine.

If you would like to donate, visit midwestmission.org/donate.

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