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Meals for a Million

Meals for a Million

Beraka Ministries looks to round up 5,000 volunteers to help pack one million meals to fight local hunger

By Brett Auten

Beraka Ministries is looking to bring people from all areas together – under one roof, for one weekend – to help make a local dent in hunger.

With the credo that giving back both enriches the lives of those in need and those who volunteer, Beraka Ministries is on a quest to pack one million meals and have them distributed, mostly to local food banks. 

The goal for the Meals for a Million event, is to drum up more than 5,000 volunteers to fill 90-minute slots and work in an assembly-line fashion to combine ingredients for meals that will be sealed to provide a complete meal for six children or four adults.

By day, Sam Rowley owns and operates R&A Contracting. He helped found Beraka Ministries and has hosted a handful of packing events in the past, but nothing of this magnitude. 

“We are getting ramped up,” he said. “We wanted to make this bigger, more people, more of a community project.”

Rowley has helped battle hunger for years in impoverished nations but is honing in locally for this adventure. Help is always in need and though St. Charles County has just 6.3 percent of the population living in poverty, the rate in the nearby city of St. Louis is at 27 percent.

The organization will be collecting canned goods and nonperishable items for local food banks as part of the project.

The event will be held at The Family Arena in St. Charles on Aug. 26 and 27. On Saturday, the hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday hours are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. More information can be found at Meals for a Million’s website.

The packaged meals are nutrient-dense and easy to use. Each contains anywhere from nine to 13-ounce packets of oatmeal or beans and rice and each loaded with vitamins and minerals and each bag can feed as many as six people. 

Rowley stated that Meals for a Million is a prime opportunity for volunteers, who can range from church groups to students to company employees involved in community outreach. 

He’s noticed that at previous events there was a separation and oftentimes it was due to secular reasons. 

“This is for everybody,” Rowley said. “Pulling people together was the common denominator for everyone involved.”

The ninety-minute shifts are ideal for a busy family weekend.

“It’s not like it is your all day Saturday or Sunday,” Rowley said. “And if the kids are needing to get some community service hours we have to forms and everything they need to fill out.” 

Sponsorships are available for corporations, organizations and even individuals who are looking to sponsor individual packing tables. Each table will host 10 to 12 people. Each packing box can provide 240 meals, which cost Beraka Ministries about $35 to fill. For a $300 donation, a table provides 2,400 meals and the goal is to have 70 tables buzzing with activity.

Volunteers and donors are needed and can sign up or get more information at www.mealsforamillion.com or by calling 636-387-7557.

CUTLINE: Photos by Ray Rockwell  (From left) Mike Clayton, Beth Lindauer, Mark “Bubba” Anderson, Sam Rowley and Corey Tolle of Beraka Ministries is on a quest to pack one million meals and have them distributed, mostly to local food banks for the Meals for a Million event at Family Arena in St. Charles on Aug. 26 and 27.