UMCOR Directors Approve Funding for Programs that Address Hunger
Stamford, Connecticut, October 13, 2009 —The United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) board of directors reviewed and approved $25,000 to support a program benefiting children who are chronically malnourished in South Africa.
The proposal was presented following the recommendation of Ted Warnock, a UMCOR missionary. Warnock spent six weeks in South Africa determining the sustainability and connecting with churches and other potential partners as well as potential vendors.
Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s top executive said, “UMCOR is happy to have the opportunity to help launch a program that will feed nutritious meals to children who otherwise would go hungry.”
The funding supports a meal packaging program that is operated through a joint partnership of Stop Hunger Now and the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA). The program is headquartered in Johannesburg in the offices of Presiding Bishop Ivan Abrams and is overseen by the Reverend Ron Roberston. Program coordinators work in operational offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria.
The meal packaging is largely volunteer driven with children as young as five-years-old able to participate in the process. Working in an assembly line, volunteers mix the four meal ingredients and pour it into a bag. The bag is weighed, adjusted, heat sealed and labeled. Because the meals are dehydrated, there is a shelf life of 3-5 years. In less than 2 hours, a group of 20 people can package 5,000 meals. The meals are distributed through existing feeding programs with about 10% being held for use in disaster response.
Haiti Hot Lunch Program
UMCOR directors also approved $80,000 to fund the Methodist school system for the first part of the school year. This allows UMCOR to continue its long-time support of the United Methodist Church of Haiti Hot Lunch Program.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The hot lunch program serves a hearty, nutritious meal to nearly 17,000 school children every day, including rice, beans, and other local produce.
About UMCOR World Hunger and Poverty
The global hunger and poverty programs of UMCOR provide short and long-term solutions through sustainable agriculture and clean water that help impoverished communities address longstanding issues. Local capacity building is a significant part of each endeavor. These projects are cooperative ministries done in partnership with local groups and other international organizations and involve training, advocacy, developing new markets and the provision of start-up supplies for newly formed small businesses. In situations where immediate short-term supplies of food are required for sustaining life, UMCOR works within the international community and with local partners to provide direct food aid.