Religions and Spirituality

Osceola Church Fights Hunger Halfway Around The World

Volunteers from Osceola Presbyterian Church in Clark, NJ, help assemble more than 10,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now on Oct. 2. Credits: Frank Genus/Osceola Presbyterian Church
Volunteers from Osceola Presbyterian Church in Clark, NJ, help assemble more than 10,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now on Oct. 2. Credits: Frank Genus/Osceola Presbyterian Church
Volunteers from Osceola Presbyterian Church in Clark, NJ, help assemble more than 10,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now on Oct. 2. Credits: Frank Genus/Osceola Presbyterian Church
Volunteers from Osceola Presbyterian Church in Clark, NJ weigh assembled meal packages to make sure they have the correct amounts of ingredients. Credits: Frank Genus/Osceola Presbyterian Church
Volunteers from Osceola Presbyterian Church in Clark, NJ load boxes of packaged meals onto Stop Hunger Now’s truck following a packaging event on Oct. 2. Credits: Deidre Buchner/Osceola Presbyterian Church

CLARK, NJ – More than 10,000 sustainable meals are on their way to Madagascar thanks to more than 45 members and friends of the Osceola Presbyterian Church. Volunteers assembled and packed the meals after service on a recent Sunday afternoon.

“It was amazing to see us come together to do this,” said Linda Dodson, a member of Osceola’s congregation. “Everyone, from the little kids to our elderly members, had a job to do and was able to contribute. And we had a lot of fun while we were helping people.”

At each of five assembly stations, volunteers measured rice, soy, and dehydrated vegetables into bags.  Then a vitamin packet was added.  Each bag contained enough food for six meals. Groups of six bags were handing offer to a runner, who transported them to a weigh station.  At the weigh station, another volunteer adjusted the amount of food to ensure the correct weight. Bags then moved on to a sealing and packing station. Runners kept the ingredient bins full and loaded finished boxes onto a truck at the end of the event.

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The finished boxes will be shipped to Madagascar through “Stop Hunger Now,” a Raleigh, N.C.-based non-profit that operates meal packing programs in 20 U.S. cities and several other countries. “Stop Hunger Now” distributes the meals through feeding programs operated by partners in developing countries that encourage children to attend school and promote education. The meals can also be made available in response to crises.

The meals can be easily prepared by adding boiling water and have a shelf life of a year..

Osceola’s volunteer crew assembled 10,152 meals in about two hours. The church’s members donated $2,900 to cover the costs of the meals.

“The meal packing was a great event and I hope that we do it again next year,” said Claudia Heffner, an elder at Osceola Presbyterian Church.

Osceola Presbyterian Church is located at 1689 Raritan Road, right off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 136 in Clark, near its borders with Cranford and Linden. For more information, visit Osceola’s website,, and Facebook page,  To learn more about Stop Hunger Now, visit:

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