More than 750 Pinecrest Academy students and their families, and faculty and staff at the private PreK3-12th-grade Catholic school served together on Sunday, December 11, 2016, at the Feed My Starving Children® MobilePack Event at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta.
Feed My Starving Children® (FMSC) is a Christian non-profit organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. Children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and FMSC ships these meals to distribution partners. Meals have reached nearly 70 countries around the world. The boxes of goods packed by Pinecrest families will go to Haiti and Nicaragua, locations that students and parents have participated in direct missionary work.
Kathleen Nichols, Assistant to the President at Pinecrest Academy, who directs the Family Life program at Pinecrest, and Anne Rice, Pinecrest parent, organizers of the FMSC service project, hoped to get 700 from the school to sign up, a seemingly lofty goal for a school of about 820 students.
After weeks of encouraging the opportunity to serve those less fortunate alongside family members, and launching fun and competitive fundraisers to drum up excitement and offset the cost of the food packed, Nichols and Rice were amazed that more 750 from the school community volunteered to give up their Sunday afternoon, don blue hair nets, roll up their sleeves, and pack rice meals. The Pinecrest team wore spirit wear, filling the packing hall with the school colors of green and gold.
Pinecrest’s designated meal packing time slot on Sunday was 11am-1pm, and according to Lisa Stueckemann, Feed My Starving Children Development Advisor, MobilePack, Pinecrest put together the largest volunteer group that FMSC hosted for the MobilePack event over the weekend.
“Feed My Starving Children is unique in that everyone, ages five and up, can participate together. The faculty and staff did a fantastic job getting the entire Pinecrest community involved. The response was tremendous,” commented Stueckemann.
In a two-hour period, the Pinecrest team packed 990 meal boxes, equating to 213,840 meals. “We were pleased to learn that our efforts will feed 585 children for a year,” commented Ann Rice, Pinecrest’s Feed My Starving Children Parent Coordinator. “That would be like feeding over half of our students for a year!” Stueckemann shared that the Pinecrest team packed more meals than any other session during the MobilePack event over the weekend.
As the school worked to organize a mission that all family members could participate in together, they were also hoping to make a significant financial contribution, to help pay for the food being packed. Students held contests to see who could raise the most money for the cause. Lower School students completed chores at home and practiced good behavior to earn quarters to fill M&M’S® Candy Tubes, while Middle School students competed with a very strategic ‘Coin Wars’ initiative. Parents were able to drop off checks and make online donations on behalf of Pinecrest Academy. To date, well over $9,000 has been raised.
High school students viewed short stories about children served by FMSC and were also invited to sample the food that is sent to these children and their families. The entire school community regularly prayed for the children who would be receiving the packed meals.
“We all humbled ourselves with our hair nets,” joked Rice. “It was beautiful to have our children witness their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings, along with teachers, priests, and consecrated women, all volunteering together in a spirit of true servant leadership,” she continued.
President of Pinecrest, Fr. David Steffy, LC served alongside the families on Sunday. “Pinecrest was humbled to not only provide volunteers but to also spiritually and financially contribute to the relief effort of Feed My Starving Children,” he said. “For this privilege, we are grateful.” Kathleen Nichols commented, “This family mission project has mobilized our school apostolic spirit, as we seek to transform society with goodness, in service and charity.”
“Kids feeding kids is at the heart of the work we do. Our food is just $ .22 per meal, so every donation makes a big difference,” commented Stueckemann. Those who wish to support FMSC financially may donate by visiting the website at www.fmsc.org. To learn more about how to participate in a MobilePack event, click on the Volunteer button on the home page.