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Cross of Christ’s first Harvest Pack event was a resounding success! 52 people spent two hours packing 10,584 meals for hungry families in the Philippines on Sunday, turning a pile of raw materials into finished meals packed for shipment.

It was our youth who were originally responsible for this venture.  Last year a number of Cross of Christ teens attended a youth conference weekend, during which they had the chance to help pack food for Harvest Pack.  The project left them inspired enough that they asked if we could sponsor an event at our church.  CofC Lead Pastor Dave Thomas, with his 25 years of background in hunger relief–including over six years on the ground in Africa and various other spots around the globe–was equally enthusiastic, and his ringing endorsement led us off.

“Hunger Pack is perhaps the most impactful, direct,and actually fun way a church like Cross of Christ can undertake to be the hands of Jesus feeding our hungry neighbor around the world.” –Pastor Dave Thomas

From fundraising to packing, many hands of all ages helped this mission come to completion.   The fun started with our first FUNdraiser, which involved eating M&Ms and collecting quarters.  Dozens of volunteers rose to the challenge and returned enough quarters to keep our teenage volunteers rolling for a half-hour, and with that, we had funds enough for a few thousand meals and a chance to move on to a fundraiser involving Seattle’s beloved Seahawks.  The ‘Hawks had a good month, winning three of four games in November and netting us funds for another few thousand meals thanks to more generous sponsors.  Our last dash involved collecting change to make SUPER RICE, leading one volunteer to remark that she didn’t realize quite how heavy a few hundred dollars in spare change could be.  Not as heavy as the rice that change was able to buy, though!

147377A few days before we were scheduled to pack the food, three pallets of supplies showed up to the church.  An initial glance revealed that the job we had in front of us–turning hundreds of pounds of raw materials into 10,000 nutritious meals–was going to be just as challenging as the job we’d finished in raising the funds for the project.  However, it was also a reminder that however challenging we thought it might be, it was nothing compared to the challenge of living with the daily struggle of hunger.  Our work and our hands are the reasons organizations like Harvest Pack can help bring food to the tables of people who need it.

Hunger Pack and similar organizations allow almost anyone the opportunity to make a real, tangible, and hands-on difference in the fight against hunger.  –Pastor Dave Thomas

After months of preparation, January 15 arrived, and the event was on!  Our intrepid Harvest Pack staff support, Alex and Annie, dug their way out of a foot of snow in Portland and trekked up I-5 to help make sure the event ran smoothly. Our sign-up sheet had 43 people on it, but at our appointed start time of noon, we were blessed and excited to find that 52 people from Cross of Christ and the community had gathered to help turn our supplies into meals.  Annie and Alex’s enthusiasm, Pastor Dave’s experience in over 30 similar events, and the combined energy of the room made for a fun, intense, and overall amazing two hours from start to finish.  Everyone had the chance to try their hand at different jobs throughout the packing process, and CofC’s handbell director, Colin Walker, even dragged out a bell that we could ring every time a team finished a box, which added to the overall level of excitement in the room for the job.  The energy in the room was fantastic!

It was really neat to get to work with so many different people at the event, and to try so many different jobs.  It felt like a really neat way to be loving to a lot of people.  –A young food packer

God’s Work, Our Hands was in action at Cross of Christ that day, and every single volunteer left with a smile on their face… Often tired smiles, but always smiles. 
It’s actually quite amazing that 50 people could pack so many meals in such a short period of time that are not just healthy and nutritious, but also tasty. Even more amazing was the fact that it wasn’t just members of Cross of Christ who came together to pack – people brought friends and family to make a significant impact on families in need in the Philippines. — Colin Walker, Cross of Christ Council Member

Thank you everyone who supported this mission with their time or resources. Whether you missed it or were there, make sure to check out our pictures, and if you have some to add, email them to Kristie and we’ll drop them in our album!

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