Local faith group packs food, supplies for needy in Dominican Republic, Somalia

More than 140 volunteers came together Saturday to pack thousands of meals for needy people in impoverished nations.

The volunteers, who ranged in age from 3 to 85, spent the day assembling and packing more than 35,640 rice and vegetable meals, with soy for protein and fortified vitamins, according to Heather McGee, faith formation director at Abiding Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.

Each small package contains six meals, with 36 packages per box and each box containing 216 meals. The meals can be prepared just by adding water.

“We’ve got people coming out from the community, from scout troops, and from all the churches in the Lutheran Saints In Ministry Consortium,” McGee said. “This is the second time we’ve done this. We have kids here as young as 3. There’s a place for everyone here.”

The church is a member of the Lutheran Saints In Ministry Consortium, a group of five Lutheran congregations in and around Fairborn that have been working together since September 2010. According to the group’s website, two local pastors met to envision a set of modest goals by which their congregations, working collaboratively, might be better able to meet the demands of a changing world inside their own communities.

In addition to Abiding Christ Lutheran Church, others included Good Shepard Lutheran Church in West Milton, Arise in Christ Lutheran Church in Donnelsville, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vandalia, First Lutheran Church in Xenia, Emanuel Ministries in Fairborn.

Abiding Christ Church is the anchor church of the local consortium. The church is known for its active involvement in the community. Abiding Christ actively supports both Sonset Cafés (Wednesday and Thursday evenings), hosting the annual community Day of Caring pancake breakfast supporting the Greene County Family Promise and an auxiliary food pantry for emergency needs.

McGee said the goal Saturday was to pack as many meals as possible that will be shipped to Somalia and the Dominican Republic.

McGee said most of the meals are packaged and sent overseas. However, some meals will be distributed locally as needed through various food pantries.

“There are lots of people in the world who need food,” McGee said. “That’s where shipments are going out the soonest from the company we’re working with, which is Lifeline.”

McGee said in addition to donations, the organization does fundraisers to help underwrite the costs of the project.

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