ADVISORY: Calvary and community commemorate Haiti earthquake with prayer and a million meals

Food-packing event through Feed My Starving Children set for Jan. 8-16

WHO: In partnership with community volunteers, Calvary is hosting Feed Haiti 2011, a massive food-packing and prayer effort commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake. The million-meal food-packing event is made possible through the MobilePack program of Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a Christian non-profit organization committed to "feeding God's starving children hungry in body and spirit."

WHAT: Calvary is being transformed into a huge meal-packing facility where volunteers will measure ingredients, fill bags, seal bags, pack boxes and stack pallets. FMSC's MannaPackT Rice meals provide the key nutrients a child needs to survive and thrive, and are distributed through various community settings: orphanages, schools, clinics, refugee camps and nutrition programs. Visit calvary.org/Haiti to volunteer.

Financial contributions are being collected through calvary.org/Haiti, with the goal of raising $190,000 (19 cents per meal). Though it's not required, a common practice among volunteers is to base their donations on the amounts of food they pack; on average, a volunteer packs about $41 worth of food during a two-hour shift.

Feed Haiti 2011 will also feature a continuous, self-led prayer vigil at Calvary. Prayer stations will focus on four key challenges in Haiti: fighting hunger, maintaining good health, handling homelessness and holding onto hope.

WHEN: The food-packing dates are Saturday, Jan. 8, through Sunday, Jan. 16. Volunteers will work in two-hour shifts. Hours of operation vary; see calvary.org/Haiti for a complete packing schedule.

The prayer vigil will take place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. most days. Because of worship services throughout the day, the prayer vigil will not occur on Sunday. On Thursday, the vigil will close at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Calvary Lutheran Church, 7520 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, Minn.

SIGNIFICANCE: Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. The event devastated thousands of people already suffering from great poverty and hunger. Their circumstances remain dire today.

Calvary also sponsored a million-meal food-packing event in January 2010 within days of the earthquake. That event generated more than a million meals, nearly $200,000 in contributions and the support of 5,000 volunteers.

The mission of Calvary Lutheran Church is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Established in 1946, Calvary offers seven weekly worship services and a wide variety of programs for children, youth and adults. For more information, call 763-545-5659 or visit calvary.org.
Founded in 1987, FMSC is a Christian hunger relief organization that operates five permanent packing sites (Coon Rapids; Chanhassen; Eagan; Aurora, Ill.; Schaumburg, Ill.), as well as MobilePackT events. With volunteers packing 100 percent of the food, FMSC is true to its vision of helping people "hear and respond to the cries of those in need." Learn more at fmsc.org.
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