When Hardie Hancock saw a newspaper advertisement about the upcoming Pack-A-Thon to help feed at-risk children in Haiti, she knew it was just the project for her Women's Missionary Union at Chapel By The Sea Baptist Church in North Myrtle Beach. When the horrific earthquake struck Haiti in January, Hancock says, WMU members felt "we have got to help some way."
The Chapel By The Sea team of 15 is one of two dozen that will package 100,000 meals in four sessions Oct. 8 and 9 at The Sun News warehouse. Teams will package individual meals from bulk. The meals include rice, soy, vegetables and 20 vitamins. Scott Hahn of Feed the Hunger in Burlington, N.C., says the packaged meals will be combined with those from a similar event in Dallas and shipped to Haiti. The meals cost 25 cents, including shipping, Hahn says. The food and equipment for packaging is from Feed My Starving Children.
The Myrtle Beach Pack-A-Thon will be the fourth of six this year for Feed the Hunger, a ministry of New Directions International, started in 1968. Hahn, who will be in Myrtle Beach for the Pack-A-Thon, says Feed the Hunger is "helping 4,000 impoverished children a day in Haiti, India, Nepal, Kenya and Bangladesh." The meal typically is provided in a school/church setting, Hahn says. The church building for Sunday worship often is the school the other days of the week.
"We're excited about going and packing the food," Hancock says. Some of her church group would be interested in going to Haiti to help deliver the meals, which some team members do. Each team donates or raises $1,000 ($67 for 15 volunteers), which pays for the 4,000 servings the team will package in a two-hour session. Lee Parrish of North Myrtle Beach says, "We've had an overwhelming response" in volunteers for the Pack-A-Thon. Parrish and his wife, Debbie, are the area coordinators for the event here. "We're going to do this every year - this is the inaugural event."
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Besides the Baptist church, several churches have teams, including three from Ocean Drive Presbyterian in North Myrtle Beach, and three from the relatively new Waterbrook Community Church in Longs/Little River. Celebration Presbyterian in Carolina Forest has two teams as does the Walterboro church of Donald Lyons, Parrish says. Other churches include Surfside Presbyterian, Pawleys Island Presbyterian, Little River United Methodist, King of Glory Lutheran in North Myrtle Beach and Faith Wesleyan in Little River. There also are teams from a Bible study group at Christ United Methodist, a combined team from Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach high schools, the Rotary Club of North Myrtle Beach, Optimist Club, Time Warner, WPDE, Myrtle Beach Quarterly magazine and A & I Restoration.
The event also should be a help to four major food pantries. Parrish says all volunteers, nearly 500 in all, are asked to bring two or three food items that will be distributed to the pantries.