Date night can mean many things, and the Midlands offers many options. Friday night, for more than 100 people in Columbia, date night meant coming together to prepare 20,000 meals for children in need both locally and abroad.
Focused Living Ministries and First Church of the Nazarene teamed up with Feeding Children Everywhere for a Hunger Project event. Focused Living, which provided the majority of the volunteers, is a nondenominational Christian ministry group for men in the Columbia area.
“We exist to help men get connected to God through Jesus Christ,” said David Andes of Focused Living. “We have about 8-9 groups throughout the city, so a lot of the times the men in those groups don’t know each other, so this is an opportunity to kind of in a sense cross-pollinate.”
The volunteers, who also included about two dozen students from the University of South Carolina, formed assembly lines and worked as teams to assemble the meals. They bagged dry ingredients for lentil casserole. Each casserole is enough for a healthy meal, and the ingredients cost only about 25 cents. Since its launch in 2010, Feeding Children Everywhere, working with volunteers at projects like Friday night’s, has supplied meals for more than 20 million people.
Brad Fleming, development coordinator for Feeding Children Everywhere, said most of the food packaged Friday night will stay in the Midlands, to be distributed by Harvest Hope Food Bank and by First Church of the Nazarene. Some of the meals will also be distributed to children in Belize by church members on an upcoming mission trip.
The atmosphere was festive as the volunteers worked, with upbeat music playing and the teams singing along, and cheering as each box was fully packed. Children worked side by side with adults of all ages.
Feeding Children Everywhere organizes Hunger Projects frequently in the Midlands. More information is available at the organization’s website.. More pictures from Friday night are posted at the Midlands Anchor Facebook page.
Pictured: Volunteers hard at work but having a great time Friday night (photo by Allen Wallace)