School, Church Send Food to Africa

NORTHUMBERLAND — Forty thousand bags of rice and beans.

That’s how many bags of food that were prepared by more than 200 volunteers from Sunbury Bible Church and Sunbury Christian Academy. The Point Township church and its school partnered with Global Aid Network (GAiN) to prepare the meals, which will be sent to Uganda, Zambia and countries in need across southern Africa.

“We wanted a hands-on service project that the entire student body and families can do to serve others,” Pastor Mike Miller said. “Collecting money and resources are important, but doing this is also essential. It makes an impression on the students.”

Over the course of 25 years, the faith-based GAiN has leveraged strategic global partnership and the service of dedicated volunteers to relieve suffering through humanitarian aid in more than 75 countries. GAiN serves people around the world through food, agriculture, clean water and critical aid programs. It is the humanitarian arm of international Cru Ministries’ 190-country network.

“This gives our partners a way to practically help people in difficult situations, express love and dignity and hope to them and hopefully be in a position to have conversations about our faith,” said GAiN Partner Projects Coordinator Steve Baker.

Students in third through 12th grades packed the meals on Wednesday afternoon while students in kindergarten through second grade made beaded bracelets. On Wednesday night, 150 church and community members packed the rest of the meals.

Miller said it was important to have families able to serve together.

“Our ultimate goal is to make much of Jesus in everything we do,” he said. “Not only do we have the opportunity of providing life-saving meals, this event gives individuals and families an opportunity to serve side by side.”

The two bags of rice and beans total 12 meals at 390 calories each. Each box of 144 meals is enough food to feed a family of five a meal a day for one month, Baker said.

According to GAiN, the world is facing one of the largest food crises in 70 years, with 20 million people in four countries at risk of famine. The United Nations estimates that an additional 10 million will be threatened by famine if no action is taken.

Email Justin Strawser at jstrawser@dailyitem.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinLStrawser.