HCC provides food for third world countries

By cynthia cahall

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Volunteer Missionary Dennis Dowdall has taken mission trips to Nicaragua through Harvester Christian Church (HCC) for 11 years. The missionaries build wells, teach necessary skills for adults to make a living and share messages from the Bible. Their main goal, however, is to get food to the people.

“Meals is a very small part of it,” Dennis said. “It’s just a tool that’s part of a bigger picture.”

HCC starts by asking the congregation to donate rice. Next, they buy vegetables, protein soy and rice in bulk from either NICE (Nicaragua Christian Education) or the Kids Against Hunger Foundation and package in the church or at the foundations’ warehouse.

“The biggest goal is to get people to realize how much every grain of rice counts,” Volunteer Director of Packing Days Susan Henke said. “Everything we drop is something that could have gone in somebody’s mouth.”

Packing day starts with a demonstration of the packing, weighing and boxing process by Susan and her daughter Hannah Henke.

“It’s just a happy atmosphere,” Hannah said. “Everyone’s excited to help the kids.”

With 50 to 75 volunteers it usually takes two to three hours to package all the rice.

“I think [the best part is] at the end when you realize how many boxes you packed and how many kids get to benefit a meal out of it,” Hannah said.

After HCC has enough rice to send, the boxes travel by train to Florida, then by boat to Nicaragua or Haiti where they are sent to distribution warehouses.

“If it wasn’t for them having a packing event, we wouldn’t have any food to distribute,” Dennis said. “I enjoy my part being the connection for both ends.”

Trucks deliver the packages to schools. Either the school or a parent cooks the rice for all of the students to eat.

“I appreciate the opportunity God has given me to see,” Dennis said. “You get to see the full circle.”

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