Diaspora

Debbie Kulick: Church in East Stroudsburg to pack meals for Haiti – Pocono Record

There are many places in the world where being able to have a nutritious meal is a rarity. Some are right here in the United States and yet others are worlds away from us.
Unlike here, where there are food banks, programs that can help those who need help or organizations that provide a good and well-balanced meal to those who need them, other parts of the world depend upon the goodness of those outside their countries to help them. Haiti is one of those places.
On Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12, East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church is holding a Meal Pack for Haiti project. The United Nations World Food Program estimates that 4.5 million Haitians are food insecure. Thinking back, you can probably recall the nation was struck by a number of hurricanes that left devastation through out the country. A country already poverty-stricken, it also contends with deep political unrest.
The agency the church partners with is called Lifeline Christian Mission. The organization has the means to distribute the food packets to those in need. The distribution is often an issue in a foreign country. Often the neediest do not directly receive the donations sent. This group has distribution going directly through its organization in Haiti itself.
The meal itself is a rice-based (or bean), shelf-stable one with a specially formulated combination of vitamins, plant-based proteins, dehydrated vegetables and nutrients that provide, in one serving about 75% of a child’s daily requirement for a healthy diet. Each packet provides six servings. When the boiled water is added, the meal has the consistency of something like oatmeal.
Anyone can participate (age 7 and above) and help pack meals. Generally, the packaging takes about a 90 minutes or so and the average number of meals that can be packaged per person is about 150.
No special skills are needed, and this is a real-life learning experience for young people for sure. If you are limited in your mobility, accommodation can be made so you can participate as well. Donations that are made help to defray the cost of ingredients, boxes, other supplies and transportation related costs. Meals cost 25 cents each, so any donation would be welcome! As a 501-c-3, donations may be tax deductible.
So, what will you do if you or perhaps your group or organization participates? Each packet requires mixing the rice protein, veggies and vitamins in a packet that is then weighed so all are consistently sized, then it sealed and ready for shipping.
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Here are the details: All Friday packing times are taken, but there is a need for help on Saturday. The times are: 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The East Stroudsburg United Methodist church is located at 83 South Courtland Street in East Stroudsburg. You or your group can register online at: esumc.net or by calling 570-421-3280.
Suppose you cannot help? What can you do? Donations toward the packing project are always welcome (Mail a donation to the church and mark Meal Pack on the envelope.), sponsor someone to come in your place and of course, let others know that help is needed.
This is a wonderful opportunity for youth groups, those looking for hours for community service or for your organization to come together and do a service project.
I speak from experience, having had the opportunity to participate in a meal pack program. Knowing that the little work I did here would make all the difference in a place where it is needed was most rewarding!
Debbie Kulick writes a weekly column for the Pocono Record and Tri-County Independent. She serves on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as an EMT.

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