‘Project 216’ volunteers celebrating helping hungry at packing event

Boxes filled with food wait to be loaded on to a truck as volunteers work in the background.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Four pallets of boxes, containing 216 meals each, were loaded onto a truck after volunteers packed the boxes Saturday morning.

The event at Grace Gathering Church in New Haven was one of four public-packing events for the group Project 216, formerly known as Kids Against Hunger, set for this year.

The change in name came as the group changed the ingredients packed in the boxes, meant for groups near and far who help feed the hungry. The name picked because of the Bible verse James 2:16. It reads:  “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” It also worked out that 216 dehydrated meals fit in one box.

“Each box that gets sealed up here, is sealed by our volunteers and the next people that open it up are the people that need it,” Executive Director John Latimer said. “And I think that is cool.”

Volunteers work an assembly line of sorts putting together meals to pack in boxes.

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds worked like a machine during Saturday’s event. They put together the meals which are compiled of rice, soy, vegetables and a micro-nutrient pack. It’s all bagged, then boxed before being loaded on a truck.

“Today, we are partnering with our volunteers and together, we’re doing something about it,” Latimer added.

Each one of those volunteers played a role in the process, like the Carroll rugby teams.

“just like on the field, off the field there’s things more important than you,” Rugby Coach Kris Carroll explained. “It’s all about the greater good, not just you.”

Another volunteer, Colleen Incremona, has been a part of several packing events since she first discovered the organization.

“My favorite part of the day is knowing that we’re helping people, and we’re supporting each other to help feed the hungry,” Incremona said.

All of the ingredients are paid for by donations.

Grace Gathering Church in New Haven hosts Saturday’s packing event.

“In one box of that food, there’s 216 meals and those 216 meals only cost $54,” Latimer pointed out.

Each time one of those boxes were filled, it was a celebration which was marked with a the ringing of the bell. The volunteers then quickly got back to work.”

“You just got to turn it into a competition with them and they get a lot of work done,” Carroll said.

“It’s very very exciting to see lots of people interested in helping feed the hungry,” Incremona added.

f you want to help pack meals check out Project 216’s online schedule here: http://project-216.org/?post_type=tribe_events