JERSEY SHORE - Parishioners and volunteers from area churches did their part Sunday at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, 229 S. Broad St., to help feed the hungry in Lycoming County and beyond.
Children and adults alike worked in shifts of about 50 at a time throughout the afternoon to prepare 20,000 macaroni and cheese meals that will be distributed to local food banks in Williamsport, Mill Hall and the borough.
The need, organizers said, is great.
Helpers of all ages work together to complete nutritious macaroni and cheese food packets to feed the area’s hungry. Shown from left scooping noodles are Andrew Mitchell, Kay Johnson, wearing glasses, Cheyenne Mitchell and McKenzie Gardner.
One out of every six people in America goes hungry, said the Rev. Matthew Martin, a regional director at Kids Care, an Iowa-based relief program that helps people get food, water, medical care and education.
The number of hungry includes 2 million in Pennsylvania - 16,000 of which live in Lycoming County. Of those, 5,000 are children, Martin said.
It doesn't cost much to feed those who need it, Martin said. Meals, which contain six servings per bag, cost only 25 cents.
"We can feed everybody in the county, and every child tomorrow," he said. "Ending hunger is completely doable."
As helpers lined up along assembly tables in a fellowship hall wearing hair nets and plastic gloves, Martin said the meals being packed are nutritionally superior to macaroni and cheese from the supermarket shelves.
"Every kid can eat mac and cheese every night," he said.
About 25 area churches from Jersey Shore, Antes Fort, Quiggleville, Sugar Valley and Montgomery sent volunteers to help package meals. A team from Shop-Vac also was scheduled to assist, according to organizers.
The Rev. Kerry Aucker, pastor at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, said he received an email from Kids Care about hosting an event at his church.
"I decided to pursue it," he said.
Aucker said the response Sunday was "overwhelming."