I recently signed up Meredith and myself to help out with a food packaging event for the Haiti disaster relief. Meredith has expressed a desire to help others after reading some newspaper articles together about various needs in our community and world. I wanted to capitalize on this, so I’ve been looking for opportunities.
I don’t know what I expected, but I was truly blown away by what I saw.
After watching a slide show of people in a Haitian community, affected by the recent earthquake, we were told that our group of volunteers would package 50,000 meals that day. Most people over there are only getting one meal per day, if they are lucky.
At first I was a little bit skeptical. I wondered if this would simply be an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back, do our “good deed for the day,” and then move on. But I was truly impressed by the leaders of this local church (where the food packaging took place) and their sincere desire to help meet the true needs of these people who are hungry and desperate. This church has an ongoing ministry in Haiti, and currently feeds 700 people a day and gives financial support to two local churches over there.
We then proceeded into a huge gymnasium and lined up at our stations to start the food packaging. I must have been thinking in terms of the food that we see at our local grocery store—canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, Cheerios, etc.
But, no. It was the most basic of basic. It was about survival, not taste buds.
We took a scoop of rice, a scoop of dried soy, a tablespoon of dried vegetables, and a packet of vitamin powder, and sealed it in a bag. This was to feed a family of four. It would meet 80 percent of their daily nutritional needs.
Meredith’s first job (which I helped her with), was to put packets of vitamin powder in each bag. I held open the bag and she put the packets in. We worked in an assembly line. Then she took a turn scooping a tablespoon of dried vegetables into a funnel that filled each bag.
We had several good conversations about what life is like for other children who are not as fortunate as us. We also talked about how you don’t have to be all grown up to help others. You can give of yourself to bless others, starting from a very early age. I asked her what she learned and she said, “I don’t even have to be 12 to help other people!”
I was humbled by this whole experience. I went hoping to help Meredith learn about giving of herself, gratefulness, community service, and understanding her world better. But I came home learning some big lessons too.
This is a busy phase of life for me, trying to raise three small children. I may not be able to do as much as I want to do to help others right now. (Unless you count my kids and husband!) But I was encouraged to try to do more. I have an easy and comfortable life. We are on a budget, like most Americans, but we are wealthy beyond measure. I need to do more.