Wylie’s Zion Lutheran Church and five other Abilene churches spent a Sunday afternoon in late August packing 2,500 boxes of food for needy families.
Zion Lutheran partnered with Children’s Hunger Fund, Global Samaritan and the other local churches for the massive effort.
The gym at Zion Lutheran was covered with a giant assembly line of dry and canned foods. Volunteers grabbed a box and went down the line, loading various items into their boxes. At the end, the boxes were taped up, stacked up and loaded into a huge truck.
Assisting Zion Lutheran in the effort were volunteers from New Hope Church, Transformation Church, Holy Cross Anglican Church, St. James United Methodist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church.
This is the fifth year that Zion Lutheran has hosted a packing party. The first year, the group packed 150 boxes. The second year, they did 1,500; then 2,000 and then 2,250. This year, the group packed an amazing 2,500 boxes.
“They will be shipped all over the world,” said Pastor Clyde Kieschnick of Zion Lutheran Church. “But a lot will be kept here for local families that need help.”
Ed Snyder of Children’s Hunger Fund said the program partners with churches and other groups to provide food for people in 26 different countries. He said some groups help pack food and others help distribute them, but rarely do organizations do both.
“Zion Lutheran is one of the few that does both,” Snyder said. “This church will pack first and then they will do home deliveries. It’s beautiful.”
Also involved in the effort was Global Samaritan Resources, a local nonprofit that helps people all over the world.
“Our niche is logistics,” said Esther Kissell of Global Samaritan. “We provide the equipment – forklifts, the truck and tables. Global Samaritan is the hub for storing these. They can come to us to get their boxes.”
Snyder said leaving some of the boxes for local churches to distribute allows those churches to minister to their own communities.
“We want to see churches use what we do to build relationships in their communities,” he said.
Pastor Chuck Farina of New Hope Church said the joint effort between the churches is an example of the way Christians should be working together to meet the needs of the community and the world.
“We hope to build this kind of relationship with a lot more churches,” he said. “The end result is a powerful thing – to be able to help hungry people. We get to work together with other congregations and work together — as the body of Christ is supposed to do. It doesn’t happen near enough.”