LaGrange’s challenge means meals for hungry

LaGrange’s challenge means meals for hungry

Nov. 2, 2012

Following a successful Stop Hunger Now event last year, students at LaGrange College had two requests: They wanted to do it again, and they wanted to do it bigger.

“Our students were so excited to see the impact they could make through Stop Hunger Now,” said the Rev. Blair Tolbert, Director of Student Ministries. “We all started to talk about how we could do it better this year.”

That’s when the idea of a challenge was born.

The Rev. Dr. Quincy Brown, Vice President for Spiritual Life and Church Relations at LaGrange, contacted Cindy Autry, who serves as Executive Director of the Georgia United Methodist Commission on Higher Education and Campus Ministry.

“We called a meeting of all the chaplains at the other Methodist colleges and universities in North Georgia and had a representative from Stop Hunger Now do a presentation,” Brown said. “We then issued a challenge to every school to participate in their own packing event to see who could pack the most meals.  The group set a combined goal of more than 125,000 meals.”

Stop Hunger Now is a faith-based organization founded by ordained United Methodist minister Ray Buchanan. It is designed to provide rapid, cost-effective responses to international crisis situations. 

“SHN’s vision of a world without hunger is a faith response to our understanding that all people of faith have a divine mandate to work toward achieving a just and peaceful world,” Brown said. “Such a world cannot be achieved without all of God’s children having access to enough food to sustain their health and well-being.  Ending hunger in our lifetime is the right and righteous thing to do as long as hunger exists in our world.”

The meal packaging program began in 2005 and has perfected the assembly process that combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals into small meal packets.  Each meal costs only 25 cents.

The week after LaGrange packed 25,140 meals, SHN partners overall prepared 148, 410. Since its inception, it has packaged 73,467,773 meals and has delivered more than 150 meal shipments to 46 partners in 30 countries. 

Results from the other institutions included Reinhardt University, 10,000 meals; Young Harris College, 10,000 meals;  Oxford College at Emory University,  20,000 meals; LaGrange College, 25,140 meals; and Wesley Foundation at Georgia Tech, 10,000 meals. The numbers from Paine College have yet to come in.

 Autry said she appreciated LaGrange College stepping up and issuing the challenge.

“Our Georgia UM-related schools have provided thousands of meals for persons throughout the world through this Stop Hunger Now challenge, and our students have been given a solid way to serve and make a difference in the name of Christ in the world,” she said. “In addition, each campus has reported a great time of making friends and having fun as students and faculties have worked on the projects.

“I am sure Stop Hunger Now will be an on-going part of the service opportunities on many campuses.”

A four-year liberal arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church, LaGrange College is consistently ranked in the top 10 among Southern colleges by U.S.News & World Report. The college, an award winner in sustainability, is the oldest private institution of higher learning in Georgia.

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