Clark Church Fights Hunger Halfway Around The World

CLARK — Earlier this month, Osceola Presbyterian Church members packed more than 10,000 meals that are bound for Madagascar in partnership with Stop Hunger Now. This is the first time the church has participated in this kind of mission activity.

“It was amazing to see us come together to do this,” said Linda Dodson, a member of Osceola’s congregation. “Everyone, from the little kids to our elderly members, had a job to do and was able to contribute. And we had a lot of fun while we were helping people.”

Stop Hunger Now is a Raleigh, N.C.-based non-profit that operates meal packing programs in 20 U.S. cities and several other countries. The meals – which include rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin supplement – can be easily prepared by adding boiling water and have a shelf life of a year. Stop Hunger Now distributes them through feeding programs operated by partners in developing countries that encourage children to attend school and promote education. They can also be made available in response to crises.

Approximately 45 members of the congregation, as well as a handful of their friends and community members, assembled 10,152 meals in about two hours after Osceola’s worship service on Sunday, Oct. 2. The church’s members donated $2,900 to cover the costs of the meals.

There were five assembly stations, where volunteers measured out the rice, soy and dehydrated vegetables and added a vitamin packet to each bag containing enough food for six meals. As the groups at those stations completed six of those bags, they placed them in a bin and handed it off to a runner, who brought it to a weighing station. There, another volunteer made sure that the bag contained the correct amount of food and added or removed rice to get it to the correct weight. From there, the bags went to a sealing station and were then packaged in a box to be shipped to Madagascar. Other volunteers made sure to keep the assembly stations supplied with ingredients throughout the afternoon and loaded the filled boxes onto Stop Hunger Now’s truck at the end of the event.

“The meal packing was a great event and I hope that we do it again next year,” said Claudia Heffner, an elder at Osceola Presbyterian Church.

Osceola Presbyterian Church is located at 1689 Raritan Road, right off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 136 in Clark, near its borders with Cranford and Linden. For more information, visit Osceola’s website,, and Facebook page,  To learn more about Stop Hunger Now, visit:


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