Several churches from the Santa Clarita Valley banded together in the Millions of Meals Marathon on Saturday.
“The event started about four years ago when Real Life Church decided to work with Children of the Nations which is an organization that we have been working with for years, said Rusty George,” lead pastor of Real Life Church. “They have a meal packing plant where you can put together chicken, rice, lentils and spice. You seal it up and then you mail it overseas to hungry kids.”
Hundreds of people of all ages from the Santa Clarita Valley came a packaged food for the less fortunate.
“They had a plan where we could package 100,000 meals with the church on Labor Day weekend several years ago, we packaged over 100,000,” said George “Someone had an idea ‘What if we had a million?’ So all of these churches in Santa Clarita rallied together and we packaged over a million meals.”
Officials set up stations for packaging, boxing, and loading the food.
“We are just short of two millions meals and after this weekend, we will pass the two million mark,” George said. “These meals go to Sierra Leone, Uganda, Dominican Republic, Malawi and we have done canned food for local as well.“
George said exact numbers of how much food was donated will be available at a later date.
“In total, probably about 20 churches over the course of four years have helped, thousands of people and this year we decide ‘Let’s get together at the mall and do this’,” George said.
Local businesses and organizations including KHTS AM 1220, Chick-Fil-A and Help the Children volunteered at the event.
“Why not partner together? Rusty and I both have hearts for the city and it’s people,” said David White, senior pastor of Northpark Community Church. “When you have the privilege to shepherd people in the valley, they want something transcendence, something bigger.”
Friends and families shared stories and laughter while packaging the food. Not only did volunteers get to have fun, but some learned a powerful lesson about helping the less fortunate.
“As I’m loading these boxes and looking at all of these drawings that kids have left for other kids who are not as fortunate, it breaks my heart but it feels good to help people I will never meet, to give them sustenance to continue life and find Jesus,” said Mark Mears, director of communications at Real Life Church.
Volunteers arrived around 7 a.m. Saturday morning and stayed well past 12 p.m. in 100 degree heat.
“Everyone involved in this can understand that we are all part of this big world, this tapestry of human life that is all working together to help each other,” Mears said.