RiverGlen Christian Church volunteers prepare meals for Panama, Haiti


By NATALIE SHEPHERD

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (WDJT) – 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 beat that record. Almost 800 volunteers gathered for two days last month to help, and their small contribution has produced big results.

The process of preparing meals is straightforward.

“There are vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice,” said 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 bag. The bag is then sealed and ready to be packed.

This Friday night, hundreds of volunteers flocked to participate, picking up their hairnets and getting a quick tutorial on how the assembly line works.

This is the second year that RiverGlen has hosted a huge packed lunch.

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

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

“I did several things. I scaled everything and weighed it and then shipped it to the sealer, ”said Disalvo. “It’s super easy to do and it’s really fun too.”

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

“We have a whole bunch of Old Navy who came in. They got all of their colleagues together,” said organizer Amy Merz. “We have so many schools involved. So, this is really a community event.

Everyone is able to participate 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 children here. You will see older people here, ”he said.

They each do a small part to get huge results.

“It takes a lot of manpower. The power of women! It takes a lot of power, ”said Merz enthusiastically.

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

“It’s really a passion for me. I love it. I love to see people come together and do something out of the goodness of their hearts, ”she said.

Once the meals are packed, they are loaded onto pallets. These meals to Panama and Haiti.

“In each country they will use different spices, so it will taste a little different,” Hattrick said. “Sometimes they’ll make it softer. Sometimes they’ll turn it into a casserole dish.

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

“I think sometimes people just sit there and think, oh, I wish I could do something. Now, there is something you can do. It’s not difficult, ”Merz said.

Volunteers give and get something in return.

“What we found is that the people at the heart of this project are really asking themselves how they can get involved. How can they do more, ”Merz said.

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

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

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

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