INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosier United Methodists gathered Saturday afternoon, May 31, at the Indiana Convention Center to pack meals for Kids Against Hunger, a national not-for-profit hunger agency. Volunteers and staff numbering 160 people were on-hand to supply, measure, funnel, weigh, seal and pack the meals.

Deanne Heidrich, a volunteer with Indianapolis-based Metro Ministries, said it was her third year of organizing the annual conference session mission outreach. She said she wanted to try something different this year in order to boost volunteer engagement.

To go along with the theme of being an outwardly focused church, Heidrich extended the invitation beyond annual conference members. She sent an invitation to the entire Indiana United Methodist community by reaching out to churches across the state.

Heidrich said she was pleased with the response from the community. Half of the volunteers were members and guests of annual conference, and the other half were from congregations across the state. Youth groups and Girl Scout troops were some of the groups in attendance at the event.

One group came together in celebration of a friend’s birthday. “I’m Stacey! I’m 60 and this is a party with a purpose!” said Stacey Moore of Indianapolis. Moore had a milestone birthday coming up, and decided she wanted to do something different to celebrate – something that would make a positive impact. When she heard about the Kids Against Hunger event, she gathered friends and family to pack meals for her birthday celebration.

With 15 assembly lines, volunteers were able to fight hunger both worldwide and statewide.

During the two hours, volunteers packed 43,200 meals, each created to feed six people by adding water to the dry ingredients in the packet. About 25,000 of those packets will be shipped to Mission Guatemala. United Methodist-related food pantries located in South Bend, Kokomo, Corydon and Indianapolis picked up the remaining meals.

Stacey Moore (far right) invited her friends to join her at the Kids Against Hunger food packing for her “birthday party with a purpose.”