Charlotte Christian students, staff and families worked together last week to make a positive difference in hunger around the world.
The Knights Fight Hunger Week, April 8 through 12, was an extension of the school’s efforts in past year’s to help feed hungry people in Charlotte. Starting seven years ago with the school’s Tailgate to Donate Event that benefits the homeless through the Harvest Center of Charlotte, this year the school wanted to add to the event to make it even more family oriented and cross-divisional.
Over the past seven years, the school has collected more than 6,700 canned goods, about 48,000 food service gloves, more than 83,000 Styrofoam take-out trays and has wrapped more than 100,000 forks and napkins for a project they call Operation Fork Wrap.
“Each year, it’s grown,” LuAnn Durden, the school’s parent relations specialist, said. “This year, we collected over 1,600 canned goods, 20,000 takeout trays, 20,000 forks and napkins and over 30,000 food service gloves. And then we expanded our initiative with a packing event.”
Along with collections for the Harvest Center, the school hosted two food packing events through Servants With A Heart, a Kids Against Hunger satellite nonprofit started by Jeff and Suzanne Yoh, one of Charlotte Christian’s own families. Kids Against Hunger packs highly nutritious dehydrated meals that are sent to children in Nicaragua. The organization provides the trucks, tables, food bins, bags, training and the logistics of the event to help other local organizations make a difference worldwide. The meals, which consist of white rice, crushed soy, dehydrated blended vegetables and chicken-flavored vegetarian vitamin and mineral powder, provide a rich source of digestible protein, carbohydrates and vitamins needed and offer all nine of the essential amino acids required for complete nutrition, according to the organization’s website www.kidsagainsthungercharlotte.org.
Ten percent of the meals will remain locally at food banks and in backpack programs while the rest will be delivered by Samaritans International, an organization in Waxhaw.
“That’s a ministry that a lot of our Charlotte Christian families are already familiar with,” Ken Griffin, Charlotte Christian’s director of institutional advancement, said about Servants With A Heart.
For the packing portion of Knights Fight Hunger Week, the school hosted a packing event on Thursday evening for families and then another event all day Friday for junior-kindergarten through 12th-grade students – an event designed to be cross-divisional, giving all students the opportunity to work side-by-side. Altogether, the school packed about 125,000 meals.
“Since it was the first year, in talking with Jeff and Suzanne Yoh, they were thinking around 100,000 meals. Not only did this project teach our kids to combine as a community and serve together, but we also liked this project because it benefitted locally and internationally,” Griffin said.
Each packing shift was typically around an hour and a half long, where the standard equates to each child packing enough bags to feed a child for a year, Griffin said.
“I think this teaches the kids they can give of their resources and they can give of their time,” he said. “And it teaches them to be the hands and feet of Christ.”
But not only were the students learning, but also were engaging in friendly competition between classes to see who could bring in the most goods for the Harvest Center. And in preparation for the week, teachers and staff briefed students on the impact they would be making all around the world.
“We went through the logistics and philosophically talked about it and our teachers did a good job preparing them,” Griffin said. “They could see the people that were part of these ministries through videos, explaining ‘these kids are just like you, but they are hungry.’”