ST. CHARLES – Most Americans just go to the pantry or refrigerator when they get hungry, but hundreds in poverty don’t have that option. Missouri Baptists are taking the lead feeding these hurting families as well as creating a community witnessing event to pack one million meals on August 26-27 at the St. Charles Family Arena.
The group is looking for 5,500 volunteers to pack the one million meals during the two-day event. Volunteers can sign up for a variety of positions at times convenient with their schedules. “We are close enough to draw from the Illinois side and easy to get to for groups in Missouri,” Rick Biesiadecki, co-chair and senior pastor of LifePointe, said. “This ministry event will have the broadest impact for the shortest time.”
Biesiadecki and Sam Rowley, the other co-chair and member of Two Rivers, recognized the needs in the community and identified an opportunity to serve. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” Rowley said, “and I’ve always been a part of mission trips and I grew up in Ecuador with missionary parents, so I saw a way to help at home.”
Biesiadecki and Rowley assembled a planning committee with representatives from a variety of churches and Christian organizations. “This event will give us the opportunity to be the hands and feet to the gospel,” Biesiadecki said. “It will give an opportunity for Christians to come together and to work together for a cause. The community will see us live out Matthew 5 by being the salt and the light. We will be meeting the needs like Jesus did.”
According to Rowley, the meals will be packed from 9 am to 6 pm on Saturday and from 9 am to 3 pm on Sunday. “At 3 pm on Sunday,” Rowley continued, “we will have a time of praise and worship. We want to celebrate what God is doing in our community.”
Rowley outlined two of the food supply activities that would take place. “We will have a food drive for participants to bring in food that will be given to food banks and other food suppliers to the needy,” he said. “People can just drive through and drop off items. We will also have food packaging going on with volunteers in lines packing six meals per bag and 200 per box. We will be doing two meal types: one will be oatmeal and the other is rice and beans with soy, vitamins and bouillon for flavoring.”
Biesiadecki said these meals are especially beneficial for children. “Several of the food suppliers to children have mentioned that these packaged meals are easier than cans for students to carry in their backpacks,” he said.
In addition to food, many ministries will be attending the event to include a Ministry Fair with North American Mission Board; Send Relief and others. Also, a blood drive and clean water demonstration will be happening that day.
More information including volunteer registration is available on the web site: www.mealsforamillion.com.