Pascagoula food drive brings 200 volunteers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula food drive brings 200 volunteers

Twelve-year-old Avery Doty of Gautier helps with the Stop Hunger Now food distribution in Pascagoula. Twelve-year-old Avery Doty of Gautier helps with the Stop Hunger Now food distribution in Pascagoula.
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

What started as a small effort to help feed the needy ballooned into a big-time community event at the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center in Pascagoula Sunday. The work was hard, but it seemed more like a party with a purpose.

About 200 volunteers representing 20 churches and 12 businesses formed assembly lines to pour, seal, distribute, package and ship 50,000 meals.

“The goal of Stop Hunger Now is to end hunger in our lifetime,” said Pat Ware, Stop Hunger Now program manager out of Jackson. “And we could do that many ways by packaging meals in factories, but the thing we believe is going to end hunger is by the people. By the movement to end hunger and that’s what you see here behind me.”

He said churches and businesses donated money for the food, which will be distributed throughout the world. “That’s what’s really encouraging about the group you see here is that they don’t know where these meals are going to go, but they’re still here and they’re willing to help.”

Stop Hunger Now so far has packed almost 209 million meals and has served 71 countries. The 250-calorie meals are made of rice, soy and dehydrated vegetables. The products come in big containers, and volunteers packed the contents into individual bags, good for six meals.

Clint Ware, pastor of Eastlawn United Methodist Church, says he wanted the second year of the program to be more community based. “To see this many people from all different churches, all different community organizations and businesses coming together, it just makes me feel great,” he said.

Twelve-year-old Avery Doty of Gautier found out about the event at her church. “I am glad that I can do this, be a part of this association and help them, a lot,” she said. “And I encourage anybody that has the opportunity to stop hunger, that they do. And they need to know that it’s a big deal ‘cause being hungry is not fun.”

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