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samedi 30 avril 2011

Valley to prepare 1M meals

Charity: Thirteen local churches aim to reach goal Sunday to feed those in impoverished nations More than 200,000 packages of rice and other dried food were delivered this week to Real Life Church in Valencia. The reason: a valleywide effort to package 1 million meals to send to impoverished nations like Haiti, Malawi, Sierra Leone and the Dominican Republic.

Scott Hanson, top, Keanan Marble, left, and Pastor Brandon Beard
hang a banner for the SCV Million Meal Marathon on the side
of one of four food storage trailers in preparation for the Sunday
 event in the parking lot of the Real Life Church in Valencia
on Friday. Santa Clarita Valley churches will be making 1 million meals
 for impoverished nations
This massive undertaking was first sparked by a similar effort on Labor Day 2010. Real Life Church organized the effort, partnering with Children of the Nations (www.cotni.org). This turned into a desire to help in an even larger way. On Sunday, Real Life Church and 12 other local churches will suspend Sunday morning church services to work together to reach the goal of packaging 1 million meals for starving children around the world. Why not 1 million?
Brandon Beard, executive pastor of Outreach at Real Life, said the idea for the Million Meals Marathon came after the church successfully completed the 100,000 meals.
“After we did 100,000, we knew we wanted to do more,” Beard said. “We thought, why not do 1 million?”
Real Life Church reached out to other churches across Santa Clarita and asked them to join the effort. Twelve churches responded, happy to be a part of it.
Real Life organized the event, planned for the supplies and the food with the help of Children of the Nations. Each church picked up its allotment of dried food from Real Life this past week and will package the meals at its own location.
The packages contain rice, lentils, chicken powder and spices. Thirty-six vacuum-sealed bags will be boxed together.
Children will be asked to decorate boxes, and draw pictures and write letters to the recipients.
The boxes are then loaded onto pallets and into one of four large shipping containers that will hold 250,000 meals each.
These containers will be taken to the shipping yard first thing Monday morning.
Saving lives
There will be more than 5,400 volunteers that will attend this event across the Santa Clarita Valley, said Bob Palocsay, a representative of Children of the Nations.
“Previously, 285,000 meals were packaged on one day,” Palocsay said. “The Million Meals Marathon is the largest food-packaging effort conducted all in one day that Children of the Nations has been involved with.”
Churches like Living Grace are thrilled to be a part of this global effort.
“This is a social issue that transcends our church,” said Rachel Edwards, the children’s pastor at Living Grace. “This is an opportunity for us to get out of our chairs and comfort zones and really do something.”
Brandon Beard is excited that the food will go to children he knows from those countries that are starving and living in poverty. Beard has taken several mission trips to countries like Haiti and Uganda with the church.
“It will go to kids like Mikeline in Haiti, who lost her arm and lives in a tent city with her mom,” Beard said. “To Sharon, in Uganda, or to Arnold, in Malawi.”
More than 925 million people in the world are malnourished or starving. The food that will be packaged and sent will feed 2,739 children every day for an entire year. It will help sustain families that may not have been able to survive otherwise.
“This is going to be an amazing day in Santa Clarita,” Beard said. “It will be something that people will never forget that they were a part of. All these churches and people are coming together to show God’s love in a practical way. This effort is really going to save lives.”
If you would like to volunteer and be a part of the Million Meals Marathon, you can either go to Real Life Church at 8:30, 10 or 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning or go to your nearest participating church Sunday morning to be a part of their effort.

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