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It Takes a Village...


It Takes a Village

Vitamin packet. Soy. Veggies. Rice. Weigh. Seal. Box. Tape. Stack.
Vitamin packet. Soy. Veggies. Rice. Weigh. Seal. Box. Tape. Stack.
Vitamin packet. Soy. Veggies. Rice. Weigh. Seal. Box. Tape. Stack.
Each execution of this pattern seamlessly and almost effortlessly adds more hope, more opportunities to live a full life and to excel for those in need. Typically, a corporate break room, a school auditorium or a church basement serves as the backdrop for this pattern of change. Villagers in Africa or Southeast Asia, who will one day benefit from the meals, wait patiently for months as the meals travel thousands of miles, through ports and customs, to arrive at the doorstep of a certified non-profit partner who distributes the aid.
But the setting for this event is a little different. Just outside of the simple cement walls of this one-room community center, Stann Creek hurriedly careens toward its freedom in the Caribbean. The fish market hums with both the excitement over the latest catch and the lamentations of a haggling gone sour. Inside, toddlers and children play on the floor, practicing wearing hairnets, crawling into boxes. Most of the people in the room all suffer deeply in one form or another: abject poverty, debilitating malnutrition, chronic hunger. The adults, with faces hardened by a lifetime of destitution yet lit by uncontainable smiles, act out a synchronized sequence.
Vitamin packet. Soy. Veggies. Rice. Weigh. Seal. Box. Tape. Stack.
Within the pastel walls of this sweltering, unassuming yet unabashedly joyful room off the coast of Belize, a milestone is being reached. In partnership with Limestone College, Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus (KK4J) is the first distribution partner to host a Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event in the country and community they serve. Side by side, college students, staff and community members mix locally-sourced ingredients (that benefit local farmers) to build 50,000 meals to feed local families — including themselves — that very day.
“The room was hot and crowded, but everyone worked together, each cheerfully doing his or her part. I couldn’t help but think about how great it would be if our churches could work together that well. Two days earlier we didn’t know each other — today we were one,” said the event’s facilitator and Stop Hunger Now Eastern North Carolina Program Manager Chris Singleton. “It does take the global village to feed and care for the less fortunate children of the world.”

KK4J Collage

Since 2011, Limestone College, a small liberal arts college nestled in quaint Gaffney, South Carolina, has continued to do all they can with everything they have for people in need.  Due to their philanthropic drive and insatiable call to give, the college deservingly earned the National Service Award from the American Student Government Association two years in a row. Thousands across the developing world have benefited in countless ways from the 400,000+ meals the campus has funded and made by hand.
Stop Hunger Now has facilitated meal packaging events internationally for others, but we’ve never had a partner rise up to take on this task on behalf of the communities they themselves live and work in. Through Limestone College’s support, KK4J is able to use the meal packaging program to give the community the means to put their hands directly on the solution to what’s afflicting them — most of them having been haunted by hunger and its lasting developmental effects their entire lives.
But scoop by scoop, box by box, that threat of hunger is being eradicated for not only the people in the room, but for generations to come. Every chance at a healthy, productive life each of the attendees has, means a safer, and healthier life for their families and their children. And this powerful, inter-generational change all begins in their very own hands.