Kids Against Hunger – Following the food
Posted March 18, 2013on:
BY RYON KAOPUIKI
As part of the re.IMAGINE campaign, Northview Church’s Carmel campus has committed to a stronger relationship with, and increased local and global outreach through, our ministry partner, Kids Against Hunger. From 2012-2014, Northview has committed to a goal of packing a million meals over those three years – funded by the gifts committed through the re.IMAGINE campaign.
This commitment to the ministry of Kids Against Hunger has resulted in more opportunities for Northview families to serve hungry and starving people around the world through KAH food packs hosted onsite at Northview. The size of the packs range from 30 people packing a couple thousand meals in an hour to 400 volunteers on a Saturday packing over 100,000 meals in a couple hours! If you’ve participated in a pack, you know how fun they are, and in addition, how personally rewarding the experience is to know you’ve been a part of feeding starving children around the world.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A PACK?
This past January, four Northview members, including a video crew, had the privilege of experiencing first-hand what happens after the pack. In a joint venture with KAH and Grace Community Church, a small team ‘followed the food’ to Haiti to capture part of the story of how the food we pack impacts those who receive it.
KAH has a great partnership with Nehemiah Vision Ministries in Chambrun, Haiti for distribution of food to those in need. Our team was blessed to work closely with Pastor Esperandieu Pierre and his staff at NVM while in the country. KAH food provides a meal for over 300 school children each day – for many of these children, this may be their only meal for the day. NVM also distributes the food to surrounding communities in need, including Onaville, the largest internally displaced camp in Haiti.
Hearing and seeing the stories firsthand from people about how the food has impacted the health of their children, performance in school, and brought hope to the communities was moving, to say the least. Every other Monday, the medical clinic at NVM runs a malnutrition clinic where children and families receive backpacks of KAH meals as part of their program. To see children like Johnny – who was less than 13 pounds at 17 months old and severely malnourished – now thriving after gaining nearly 10 pounds in 4 months due to KAH food was awesome!
The goal of the trip, however, was to ‘follow the food’ and document the stories so we could return to the U.S. with powerful stories and pictures to share with people so others would better understand the impact they are having. As a result, Jensen Productions produced a great video that tells the local and global impact of the work KAH and partners like Northview are doing to fight hunger.
MOTIVATING and HUMBLING
When I was asked to describe the experience and impact of the trip, the first word I could think of was MOTIVATING. Seeing children eating meals we had packed and hearing people explain that their children would have probably died without KAH food was motivating to want to do more. KAH has committed to send 250,000 meals to NVM every three months; that’s 1 million meals annually! It’s exciting to know that Northview will play an important part in serving that need. The experience was also very HUMBLING for the team. We are blessed to live in a land of plenty and we are accountable to be responsible with our blessings. I was reminded of this when the team met a man in Onaville who has continued to struggle since the earthquake; his family regularly receives support from NVM and KAH. When asked to share his thoughts on receiving the food, his words were some of the most powerful I heard during the entire trip:
“I first thank God. And then I ask Him to continue to bless those who send the food so they in turn can continue to bless others.”
This man struggles daily to survive and to feed his family and he is praying for ME (Northview) to receive more blessings!? I was near speechless in the moment and still am 2 months later.
As a follow up to the trip and again as part of our partnership with KAH, Northview hosted a Kids Against Hunger impact event earlier this week with Pastor Pierre from NVM. Pastor Pierre passionately explained the impact of the ministry of KAH in Chambrun and throughout the work of NVM. Most importantly, he explained that the KAH meals are a temporary solution. He has hope for the day when he can call KAH and say that they no longer need the meals because the community is thriving and able to support and sustain itself. Ultimately, that is KAH’s vision as well. For now, however, it is comforting to know that KAH and Northview have a partner like NVM and Pastor Pierre working to maximize the impact in Haiti of all the food we send.
For more information about Kids Against Hunger, please visit www.kidsagainsthunger.org.