Join The Pack: Participants at Episcopal Parish Network Conference Will Pack Food Kits for Impoverished Families in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 2, 2023) Participants at the 38th Annual Episcopal Parish Network Conference in Jacksonville will have the opportunity to experience the joy of helping 300 impoverished families in Haiti by joining Food For The Poor (FFTP) in a food-packing event on Thursday, March 9.
FFTP is a sponsor of the conference, which will bring together 800 lay and clergy leaders from around the Episcopal Church March 8-11 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
With “Serve & Lead: Empowering Local Ministries” as its theme, the conference will feature presentations by Mari Kuraishi, President of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund; The Rev. William H. Lamar IV, Pastor of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church; Jon Meacham, Canon Historian of the Washington National Cathedral; The Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, in London, England, and Founder of the HeartEdge Network; and other keynote speakers. Bishop Ogé Beauvoir, retired FFTP-Haiti Executive Director and President of the FFTP-Haiti Board of Directors, also is on the agenda.
The FFTP Join The Pack event will give conference guests an opportunity to spend part of their free time lending a hand to people in need. It will consist of three packing sessions, starting at 10:30 a.m., and continuing at 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., or until all the kits are packed.
“It may seem like a little thing to take five or 10 minutes to pack a box of food during a break between sessions, but it truly is a wonderful endeavor,” said The Rev. Carola von Wrangel, FFTP Manager of Episcopal Partnerships. “Haiti needs us, and this is one way for conference participants to be part of the effort to bring relief to people whose lives have been touched by tragedy.”
Participants also will have an opportunity to learn about FFTP, an international aid organization that has provided more than $17.8 billion in aid to countries in the Caribbean and Latin America since its inception 41 years ago.
“We see this event as a way to introduce ourselves to conference participants and give them a sense of the joy and fulfillment people feel when they volunteer at packing events at our headquarters in Coconut Creek,” said Ed Raine, FFTP President/CEO. “It’s also a great way for them to learn how they can partner with us in helping people in the countries where we work.”
Join The Pack is another avenue through which FFTP aims to help people who are struggling with food insecurity due to disasters or other extreme conditions. This one is sponsored by Water Life Hope, an Atlanta-based charity dedicated to building wells to provide water to impoverished people in Haiti.
The event is part of a pilot project FFTP initiated last year in response to requests by churches, businesses and organizations that want to host events in partnership with the charity.
In preparation for the project, FFTP worked with its in-country partners in the Caribbean and Latin America to determine what foods would be most appropriate to include in the kits. From there, the charity developed a list of foods in specific sizes and quantities that will fit securely in the kits and clear customs without difficulty.
Each participant will spend about 10 minutes packing one food kit consisting of enough food to feed an average family of four for one week. FFTP team members will be on hand to show volunteers how to properly pack their kits. The food items include:
- Vegetable oil, one 48-ounce bottle
- Corn meal, one 24-ounce bag
- Parboiled rice, one 5-pound bag
- Elbow pasta, one 16-ounce bag
- Tuna, four 5-ounce cans
- Red beans, four 15.5-ounce cans
- Mixed vegetables, two 15-ounce cans
- Peaches, two 14- to 15-ounce cans
In addition to packing the food, participants will be able to write a note of encouragement to the family that will ultimately receive the box.
Once their kits are packed, participants will attach stickers to their box with a message of love to the recipients. They will receive an “I Packed Hope” sticker to wear during the conference and prompt conversations about joining the pack.
FFTP will bring the packed kits back to its Coconut Creek headquarters where they will be prepared for shipment to Haiti, providing immediate relief for families as the charity continues its work on developing long-term solutions to poverty.
“Our tagline for the packing event is, ‘Hear God’s Call for Haiti,’” Mother Carola said. “This is a very concrete way to respond to God’s call.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty in 19 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.