click – click – soy – rice … click – click – soy – rice … click – click – soy – rice …
This chant helped the assembly line move smoothly and efficiently, as volunteers from Plumstead Friends Meeting filled bags with rice, powdered soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamin powder, that, when cooked, will provide complete nourishment for a hungry child. These particular bags are destined for the children of Ukraine, who have been suffering since Russia declared war on the Ukrainian people back in February 2022
This all came about last May, when we received an invitation from St. Ann’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, asking us to join them and their sponsor, Feed My Starving Children, a Christian non-profit focused on feeding hungry children at sites around the world, to a “Crisis in Ukraine Mobile Pack” in June. We responded with a resounding “absolutely – tell us the day and time!”
On June 19th, after the rise of meeting, about ten Friends caravanned over to St. Ann’s, which is located in Warrington, PA. We were met at the door by workers who gave us small bags for any jewelry we were wearing and directed us to several mobile hand washing stations. After we donned our disposable hair nets, we were pointed to tables set up with tubs of the four ingredients needed for each bag, a standing funnel, small scales, and a sealing device. We were instructed to form a production line with one person at each station spooning the ingredient before them into bags, then checking the bag’s weight and sealing it.
For most of us, it was our first experience on a production line, and it gave us an enormous appreciation for that kind of work. Suffice it to say, mistakes were made–along with relevant jokes–as we experienced the sad truth that one slow person can bring an entire line to a halt. More experienced volunteers recommended we count off as we worked, so that we each knew when our turn for action was coming up. By the end of the two-hour shift, we were working together like the proverbial well-oiled machine!
We were impressed at how the event was beautifully – even amazingly – well organized! There was music to work by, and one of our crew was even showing off her dance moves as she weighed rice.
Despite some aching backs and tired legs, the experience was so positive that we’ve all agreed we want to go back and help again. Not only was it satisfying to know that hungry children will eat because of our work, but we also got to know each other better by being a cog in the wheel of that production line. We discovered a new appreciation for ourselves as a group of people committed to each other, and we felt a connection to the children who will be at the receiving end of our efforts.
Written By Leslie May, Plumstead Meeting