Ending hunger, one scoop at a time

Published 11:47 pm Saturday, October 10, 2015

 Sharon Burton and Sue Barnes help fill the bags with food during the Stop Hunger Now event at Oakland Christian United Church of Christ.

Sharon Burton and Sue Barnes help fill the bags with food during the Stop Hunger Now event at Oakland Christian United Church of Christ.

On a cool, cloudy Saturday morning, a large crowd gathered at Oakland United Christian Church to help feed the hungry.

The church committed to packaging 10,000 meals, in collaboration with the Stop Hunger Now organization. They work to feed those who suffer from hunger in various parts of the world.

Throughout the event, each participant did his or her part in helping package the food, whether it be scooping up rice, holding the bag around the funnel, sealing the bags up, or packing the bags into a box. Participants placed a packet of vitamins and minerals in each bag and then scooped up one portion of dried soy, vegetables and rice.

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“It’s just so awesome and it brings people together,” said Cate Jordan, co-chair of the event. “I’ve done it before,” she said of the organization’s events. Because of this, she got involved with planning the event after another member of the church brought up the idea.

The original plan was to swap out the group of volunteers after a two-hour shift from 10 a.m. to noon, for another two-hour shift. However, that may not have been necessary, said Pastor Gregory Ryan of Oakland Christian United Church of Christ.

“We’re going to be done,” Ryan said. Each time the group packed 1,000 meals, a member of the group would strike the gong. There were so many volunteers that they had already struck the gong three or four times by 10:45 a.m., he said.

“I would say one-third of the people here are not from Oakland,” said Ryan. The church was accompanied by members of their neighbor church, Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, as well as Perfecting Saints Church of God in Christ. There were also about 15 Girl Scouts helping at the event with their parents, he said. “We support two Girl Scout troops here,” Ryan added.

Once the church members met with representatives of the Stop Hunger Now organization, all that was left was recruiting people, said Jordan. The organization provides the necessary supplies for the event. “Our job was to just get the volunteers, and that was not hard,” Jordan said. “It’s just been an awesome response.”

“There’s a certain amount of guilt involved in the fact that we have more than enough,” said Luis Lopez, employee of Stop Hunger Now, explaining America has enough food while other countries do not. He started working for the organization about a year and a half ago. “I actually went to one of these events, and I was hooked,” he said.