Organizers near goal of 200,000 meals

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Dawna Bates, left, explains how each packing station will be set up for the March 23 and 24 McCook Mobile Pack for Feed My Starving Children to the core group of volunteers, including Marilyn Brandt, Tuesday night. The Red Willow County Ministerial Association is spearheading the effort to produce 200,000 meals, destined for Haiti. (Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette)

Dawna Bates had nothing but good news to share Tuesday night during a planning meeting for the upcoming McCook Mobile Pack for Feed My Starving Children, announcing that the group has raised nearly enough money to pack 200,000 meals March 23 and 24.

The good news continued as each core leader presented their reports, with the announcement that the meals packed in McCook will be directed to the "Love a Child" (www.loveachild.com) ministry in Haiti. In Haiti since 1991, Love a Child is an FMSC selected partner agency in Haiti, allowing the meals to be delivered directly to the places of deepest need. A local family is planning a mission trip to Haiti to coincide with the delivery. "This means we could have photos from the distribution of the meals we pack," Bates said, her smiling eyes showing her excitement.

Jerry Beckenhauer, the core leader for publicity and marketing, reported excellent receptions at area service organization meetings, noting with a wide grin that the Optimists wrote out a check on the spot for the effort.

Rob Putz, core leader for the prayer team, opened the meeting with praise for the "many membered Body of Christ" and God's power revealed in bringing the Body together to "undertake this massive mission."

Fund raising continues, with just under $7,000 needed to reach the $48,000 goal necessary to pack the 200,000 meals and the hospitality team is preparing sign-up sheets for participating churches to prepare cookies and snacks for the 1,000 volunteers needed to pack, as well as meals for the FMSC team and core leaders during the pack.

Mark Beideck, the core leader for logistics, will reach out to area youth groups for help in setting up and tearing down the packing stations. With the goal of 200,000 meals, approximately 50 6' tables will be needed for the two day event. Beideck was happy to report that Don Klein has offered the use of his forklift to unload the truck and reload the pallets of packed meals.

Approximately 1,000 volunteers will be needed to help pack the meals and online registration is now open at www.fmsc.org. Follow the links from MobilePack to MobilePack Events, scroll down to Nebraska and click "get involved" on the McCook Pack No. 1203-17, click "volunteer to pack" and follow the directions offered online.

The FMSC representatives will demonstrate how to pack the meals. Volunteers will measure the ingredients, others will seal the packages, which will then be packed in labeled boxes, and prepared for shipment. There are tasks suitable for all age groups and abilities. Unique to the McCook Mobile Pack is the complementary fund raiser for the local food pantry, with each volunteer asked to bring a food item for The Pantry. "By the end of the pack we hope to have a ton of food for those in need closer to home," Bates explained.

The minimum age requirement is 5-years-old, in the company of an adult. Adult to child ratios are Kindergarten-second grade: 1 to 1; third through sixth grade: 1 to 3; seventh to ninth grade: 1 to 4; and sophomores to seniors: 1 to 5.

There are three packing sessions each day, Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, beginning at 2:30 p.m., Friday. The pack will take place at McCook Christian Church, 507 West B Street, providing easy access for out-of-town volunteers and ample space for the semi tractor trailer from FMSC that will bring the ingredients and support materials for the pack, then be reloaded with the finished product, ready for shipment.

Volunteers who do not have Internet access, can call Dawna Bates at (308) 340-2772 or Tara Piper at (308) 340-7657 to sign up.

The core group will meet again at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the fellowship hall at Memorial United Methodist Church.

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