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‘Stop hunger now’ by packing meals at Ooltewah UMC

Year-round, groups of mission trips travel across the country and even the world to do a little good outside of the comfort of their own home.

For Ootelwah United Methodist Church the focus this weekend is on bringing mission work closer to home.

Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency, is bringing its meal packaging expertise to the church Saturday, Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon, and volunteers from the community are asked to pitch in.

“It’s a part of our Missions Impact Celebration, where our goal is to get new people involved in more mission work,” said Eric Light, director of connectional ministries. “This is just one of four events taking place, and it’s great for the whole family to come out.”

The church has already signed up volunteers for the several other outreach initiatives being conducted, including sorting and preparing donations for sale at the Bethlehem Center Thrift Shop, helping with a facility upgrade at a small church in Etowah and sprucing up Camp Lookout.

Through Stop Hunger Now, packages of rice, soy and dehydrated vegetables are sent internationally to school feeding programs and crisis relief areas.

When hosting a meal packaging event, the group sets the goal and raises 25 cents per meal. The church’s goal this year is to package 15,000 meals in two hours.

Ooltewah United Methodist hosted the agency last year and its popularity made the meal packaging event a must for this year, said Light.

“When you’re working with a family there’s not a lot of mission work you can do; there’s a lot of construction and outdoors things,” he explained.

Furthermore, including the event in a weekend about introducing mission work to those who can’t travel to another country to help is a perfect fit, he said.

“We really believe in the mission,” said Light. “Kids and families get involved and we think it has a pretty big impact.”

Other events will take volunteers to Brainerd United Methodist Church, where they will help sort and prepare thirft store items; to Miracle Lake in Etowah, where they will help with a small facility improvement project; or to Camp Lookout, where they will help with a camp spruce-up day. The event is being held in the Christian Life Center at Ooltewah United Methodist Church, 6131 Relocation Way.

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