Who Is My Neighbor? (Illini Fighting Hunger)

We didn’t know who was going to eat it or how it might benefit a family struggling to make the budget stretch a little further…..and it didn’t matter…....we loved knowing that we were doing the will of God.

That was the attitude of those who spent their Wednesday evening, May 3, transferring rice and oatmeal from huge packages to smaller units that families or individuals can use.  Does this sound like a menial, unimportant task when the need is so great?  Why not just buy several cases of Minute Rice and give them out as boxes?  As is true of many products, large quantities purchased in gross are so much cheaper and therefore go further than pre-packaged products.  Part of our commitment to this food packaging is also paying for the supplies (including the rice and oatmeal).  Your offering dollars, through the Outreach Team, provided the supplies so that we packaged 2,000 pounds of rice and 500 pounds of oatmeal!  I’m estimating that each package of oatmeal or rice would feed at least 6 people.  That means that in 2 hours, we packaged enough food for 15,000 people!  Incredible!  Thank you!!!

Comments I heard during the packaging: “I love being able to do something very practical to help people.”  “It is so great to be able to do this with our kids.”  “It’s wonderful that all ages can participate in helping feed people all around us.”

Our United Methodist connection allows us to partner with Illini Fighting Hunger (IFH), a Registered Student Organization (RSO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a program of the Wesley United Methodist Church and the Wesley Foundation at the U of I, as well as a chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger. IFH was founded out of a desire to address local and international hunger issues by making meal packaging events more frequent, more accessible, and more effective in Illinois.   You can learn more about IFH here.

How cool is it that students involved in campus ministry at the U of I are able to partner with us to make a difference in the lives of people we may never meet…..or maybe we will!  I think it’s been a couple of years ago that Parkside Elementary students who receive food from our Backpack Ministry found in their weekly supply of food, some meals that Calvary had packaged.  One of Calvary’s own children was one that received that food and excitedly told her mom when she got home, “I got one of those meals that we helped package!”

So…..we may not know the neighbors who receive the food we package…...or maybe we do.  No matter who receives the meals, the important thing is that our God knows each of them by name, loves them, and calls us to partner with them in life.  Thank you God!! 

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Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: A Light to My Path

About the Author
Debbie Reese is the Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC