Beneath a tent on Palm Beach Atlantic University’s intramural fields, hundreds of volunteers formed swift-moving assembly lines to package lentil casseroles to feed hungry children on Saturday.
More than 900 volunteers arrived in three shifts, and within hours they had packaged 150,000 meals. The packages will be distributed to needy families throughout Palm Beach County.
|PBA student Mariah Sontag (right) scoops lentils as student Christine Eldredge bags the ingredients during the Feeding Children Everywhere event at PBA on Saturday.|
The mass food-packing event was organized by Feeding Children Everywhere in partnership with Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach.
“Seeing the response from the community, people of all ages working together, is such a beautiful thing,” said Don Campbell, president and CEO of Feeding Children Everywhere, a social charity based in Orlando.
Campbell said that so many people were willing to help with the event that many volunteers had to be turned away. “There’s a desire for people that want to help,” he said. “They recognize that there’s a need. They love the effectiveness of a model that gets things done.”
The church provided more than 200 volunteers, including the Rev. Kate Kelderman, associate for ministry development at Bethesda-by-the-Sea. “After 55 minutes, I don’t want the morning to end,” Rev. Kelderman said. “You can say a lovely prayer as you scoop the lentils for each child who will be receiving the food. You find yourself praying about the life of this child.”
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“This is an amazing thing for everyone. It’s a win-win,” said the Rev. Cecie Titcomb, deacon for mission and ministry at the church.
Hundreds of Palm Beach Atlantic faculty, staff and students also showed up to help. Among the more than 300 students in attendance were members of PBA mission teams as well as Sailfish athletic teams.
Kyle McConnell, a leader of the mission team that will travel to Haiti next month, said that all of the teams came together to help with the event as part of a day-long training session.
Other students said they heard about the event and wanted to help. “I didn’t realize there were that many hungry children,” said Kelley Price, a sophomore majoring in nursing.
During the event some students, including Justin Johansen, a freshman majoring in business management, opted to participate in multiple shifts.
“It wasn’t that much work in order to do so much good,” he said.