Nearly 200 volunteers from several Lebanon-area churches, including Centenary and Otterbein UMCs, gathered and combined efforts to pack almost 37,000 meals for operation Pack Away Hunger in Indianapolis. Organized at the Boone County Fairgrounds, the interfaith event welcomed churches of various denominations and backgrounds, like Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Peter’s Episcopal, and Freedom Church —  all staples of hope and unity in the Lebanon community. 

Pack Away Hunger is a nonprofit organization committed to fighting hunger and malnutrition, especially in young children. The meals packed during the collaborative event are donated to Mission Guatemala, Inc., a United Methodist-affiliated organization working to improve the quality of life for the needy of Guatemala. A portion of the packed meals will also be distributed among local organizations fighting similar issues. 

“Several people from Centenary UMC went on an international mission trip to Mission Guatemala in the fall of 2016,” says Centenary Pastor Anthony Stone. “This food-packing event helped frame the mission trip into a full-circle moment as the folks from the church not only experienced these meals in action while in Guatemala. But also experienced the packing of these meals in the United States.” 

“People really appreciate that it is both local and global, serving families right here in Indiana as well as our mission partners in Guatemala and Haiti,” remarked Rev. Seth Neckers, pastor of Otterbein UMC. “God blessed the event. We had a tremendous amount of community support and we exceeded our original goals.”

This is the second consecutive year that Lebanon churches have gathered in support of this vital cause, with record turnouts and impressive results. Church leaders hope to continue this tradition in the coming year, having scheduled a tentative date of January 28, 2018.

You can support Pack Away Hunger by submitting donations online or by sending donations to Centenary UMC, designated to Pack Away Hunger, 910 Fordice Road, Lebanon, IN 46052. 

A Mission Guatemala trip for UMC clergy is scheduled for September 2017. You can learn more and register at: