RiverGlen Christian Church volunteers prepare meals for Panama and Haiti

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) — Church members, colleagues, and students recently came together with a huge goal in mind. Last year, RiverGlen Christian Church, with campuses in Waukesha and Pewaukee, packed 130,000 meals for shipment to Central America.

This year, they wanted to break that record. Nearly 800 volunteers came together for two days last month to help, and their small contribution has had a big impact.

The meal preparation process is simple.

“There are the vitamins, the vegetables, the soybeans and the rice,” explained Colin Hattrick of Lifeline Christian Mission, the organization that distributes the meals.

All the ingredients for a nutrient-dense meal are poured into a funnel and into a bag. The bag is then sealed and ready to be packed.

This Friday evening, hundreds of volunteers flocked to participate, pick up their hairnets and get a quick tutorial on how the assembly line works.

This is the second year that RiverGlen has organized a huge meal pack.

“It’s going pretty well,” said volunteer Christina Ogunnubi. “We’ve packed about two and a half boxes so far.”

Ogunnubi and Kaitlyn Disalvo are two of 60 Carroll University students who have come to the church to help.

“I did a few things. I scaled and weighed everything and then shipped it to the seal,” Disalvo said. “It’s super easy to do and it’s also a lot of fun.”

Volunteers are not just church members. They come from all walks of life in the Waukesha community.

“We have a whole group of Old Navy people who came. They got all of their colleagues together,” organizer Amy Merz said. “We have so many schools involved. So it’s really a community event.”

Everyone is able to get involved and do their part. Hattrick travels the country to help organize events like this.

“The beautiful thing is that all ages can participate. So you’ll walk around, you’ll see little kids here. You’ll see older people here,” he said.

They each do a small part to get huge results.

“It requires a lot of manpower. The power of women! It takes a lot of power,” Merz enthused.

Merz helped bring together 780 volunteers over two days to do just that.

“It’s definitely a passion of mine. I love it. I love seeing people come together and just do something heartily,” she said.

After the meals are packed, they are loaded onto pallets. These meals destined for Panama and Haiti.

“In each country they will use different spices, so it will taste a little different,” Hattrick said. “Sometimes they make more soup out of it. Sometimes they make a casserole out of it. »

The goal was 140,000 meals. RiverGlen raised nearly $40,000 to fund the project.

“I think sometimes people sit down and think, oh, I wish I could do something. Well, there’s something you can do. It’s not hard,” Merz said.

Volunteers give and receive something in return.

“What we’ve found is that the people at the heart of it all are really asking how they can get involved. How they can do more,” Merz said.

In the end, they accomplished their mission. Volunteers packed 143,208 meals during the two-day event.

“It makes them part of something bigger than themselves. They can participate in service around the world,” Hattrick said.

RiverGlen Christian Church is also donating to Hebron House to purchase new appliances for the Juno House shelter and the Waukesha Food Pantry. For more information, just visit www.riverglen.cc.

And if you’d like to nominate an everyday hero, message Natalie at [email protected]

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