When it comes to philanthropies, there aren’t many causes more worthy than feeding a famished population of people. And there may not be a pocket of the world more in need than drought-ridden Somalia, which Antonio Guterres, head of the United Nations Relief Agency, calls home to “the worst humanitarian disaster” in the world.
But what can a person living in the Minnesota suburbs possibly do to put a dent in 12 million starving Somalis, Kenyans, and Ethiopians currently facing the worst drought since the 1950s? It just sounds daunting.
The Hunger Initiative is planning a Community Food Packing event on February 25 and inviting anyone who wants to help, and encouraging them to bring friends, family and/or neighbors to join the effort to pack a million meals in one day for the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, which is home to 500,000 refugees. Packing headquarters will be set up at Maple Grove Community Center, Westwood Church, Shakopee Junior High, Wooddale Church, Clover Ridge Elementary, Hope Academy, Woodcrest Church and Nisswa Elementary School.
This is the seventh event organized by The Hunger Initiative, which began as a joint venture between ImpactLives, Northwood Church, Maple Grove Covenant Church and Wooddale Church in 2009. During that inaugural event, nearly 6,000 volunteers gathered at five locations on four different weekends to pack 1.5 million meals in support of famished people in Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique. A year later, ImpactLives partnered again with the Maple Grove churches to produce 285,000 meals in support of the Haiti earthquake victims.
The stakes certainly haven’t lowered any for this year’s event. “The Horn of Africa has been devastated by years of drought that have now led to serious famine and death,” says Ramon Pastrano, president and CEO of ImpactLives. “In other words, it’s a matter of life and death.”
Sign up to pack for a two-hour shift from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. or make a donation at The Hunger Initiative’s website.
Places to Pack
Westwood Church, 3121 Westwood Drive, Excelsior
Wooddale Church, 6630 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie
Woodcrest Church, 525 Cliff Rd., Eagan