Community

Arlington church prepares meals for ‘Children of Nations’

From left, Cindy Egbert and Aaron Sass fill ingredient bags at the Arlington Free Methodist Youth Center Nov. 13, for the meals that the ‘Children of the Nations’ will send to families in need overseas. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Cindy Egbert and Aaron Sass fill ingredient bags at the Arlington Free Methodist Youth Center Nov. 13, for the meals that the ‘Children of the Nations’ will send to families in need overseas.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — They expected to put assemble between 12,000 and 16,000 meals for families in third-world countries.

Instead, the 60 volunteers who showed up at the Arlington Free Methodist Youth Center at 10 a.m. on Nov. 13 had already assembled 11,500 such meals for the “Children of the Nations” by noon that day, and put together 18,000 meals by the time they finished that afternoon.

Even in the midst of being interviewed, Pastor Chuck Shocki repeatedly revised up the estimated number of meals that would be put together that day, he received word of more and more financial donations that had come in at the last minute. Each meal package feeds six people and costs 25 cents each.

“It’s amazing,” Shocki said. “We began the day with video footage of families in need eating the meals and, after a week, you could see their nutrition visibly improving. We’d love to do this as an ongoing thing. We’ve just been a well-oiled machine,” he laughed.

Jeanne Wessel noted that the Arlington Free Methodist Church has requested that the meals assembled at their youth center be directed to those in need in Haiti, especially since many church members are already involved in relief efforts on the Haitians’ behalf.

Dave Spoon northwest feeding coordinator for the Children of the Nations, explained that the meals are “rescue food,” including dry-packed staples such as beans, lentils and rice, plus powered chicken broth that’s been infused with proteins and multivitamins.

“It allows them to recover from malnourishment within a week or two,” Spoon said. “It can be hard to duplicate this kind of meal in the countries we serve. They’ll last as long as they’re kept sealed and dry.”

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