‘It’s such an eye-opener’



Taking time away from sports and other activities, a family of seven decided to give up a few hours on a recent evening to help those in need.

Sasha and Jesse Yeadon of Brownstown and their five children, Jazzlynn Yeadon, 13, Jaydynn Yeadon, 10, Hayden Adams, 10, and twins, Jaylee and Jaylah Yeadon, 7, were among the nearly 100 people gathered in the fellowship hall of Brownstown Christian Church to put together packaged protein meals for the people of Haiti.

The Caribbean country is one of the poorest in the world and still is feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew in October.

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Food is something that’s in short supply, so the 10,000 meals that were packed will go a long way.

Sasha, who works at the church’s daycare and attends the church with her family, said Associate Minister Doug Pogue had been accepting signups for a few weeks, and the family thought it was a good opportunity to help.

“My husband and I were talking and we said, ‘This would be a really good experience for them to participate in because kids nowadays, they are really good kids, but I wanted them to see that when they are complaining that there is nothing to eat at home that there is lots to eat at home,” Sasha said.

Sasha said she and her family are lucky to have a home to live in and food to eat because people in Haiti may not be as fortunate.

“Sometimes, we get carried away and we forget to be grateful for what we have and we take things for granted,” she said. “It’s kind of an eye-opener.”

Both Jazzlynn and Hayden said they were happy to help with the meal packing event.

“I like that we help the poor children that don’t have much food to live on,” Hayden said.

“Just thinking about how the kids don’t get to eat (much), they make food last,” Jazzlynn said. “We come home and we get brownies and ice cream and cookies, and they go home and maybe get a bean. This helps them be healthier, and it helps their families.”

This was Brownstown Christian Church’s third time in recent years hosting a meal packing event. The past two have been through Lifeline Christian Mission of Westerville, Ohio, while the church worked with International Disaster Emergency Service the other time.

Pogue said nearly 40 people helped last time, but that number more than doubled this year.

Initially, the congregation had raised enough money to pack 5,000 meals. But with 70 adults signing up and children and teenagers agreeing to help, Pogue decided to bump it up to 10,000. The church paid Lifeline Christian Mission 22 cents per bag.

Four stations were set up in the fellowship hall. At one end, volunteers wearing hairnets and gloves used measuring cups to put vitamin powder, dehydrated vegetable mix, soy and rice through a funnel and into a bag. Each bag then was weighed to ensure it contained between 390 and 395 grams. Then it was placed upright in a bin to be sealed and put in a shipping box.

Each box contained 36 bags, which will provide six meals apiece. They expire three years from the date they are packaged.

Will Combs, advancement director for Lifeline Christian Mission, told the volunteers that their work would make a difference to the people of Haiti.

“Food is something that is in short supply for those folks, so having been there, I can tell you that these meals that you’ll put together are a tremendous blessing and have an immense impact on the people that receive it,” he said.

Lifeline Christian Mission started in 1980, and Combs said he has been involved with the organization for five years.

Last year, he said 115 events were conducted all over the country, including in the summer at Seymour Christian Church, where 40,000 meals were packed.

Any organization can host an event. It doesn’t have to be a church, Combs said.

“I’ve been all the way out to southern California, different parts of Florida, Michigan and most places in between, from 20, 30 people to thousands of people,” he said.

In his 41 years of ministry, Pogue said he has been to Haiti more than 20 times.

Several years ago, he was there for three weeks after an earthquake.

“We were waiting on multiple containers to come into Haiti because nobody had food, so at that point in time, when we came back, we said, ‘We need to do a food packing event because it’s beneficial for us to learn how to do it, and then it’s beneficial to be able to see this given out,'” Pogue said.

Nearly a month ago, he was in Haiti with a medical team from a couple of Indiana hospitals, and he helped distribute the packaged meals one day.

He said the people waited until their name was called to receive a certain amount of bags depending on the number of people in their household.

“Doing this here and seeing it handed out, we have so much as far as food, and so to really be able to understand not knowing where your next meal is going to come from is a huge thing, and we just don’t know that,” Pogue said. “This is probably more fun for us than anything, but it’s real life for them.”

The packaged meals are good because they have high nutritional quality, he said. One serving has about 75 percent of a child’s daily requirement for a healthy diet, according to lifeline.org.

“It’s really a very tasty thing,” Pogue said. “They served it to us one night when we were down there. It’s not your typical rice dish that we would think of here in the states.”

The people helping package meals at Pogue’s church were a variety of ages, and he said they got a lot out of the experience.

“For people to understand what we as Americans have available to us is just an incredible thing. We just don’t know what it’s like to go hungry,” Pogue said.

“I would like them to realize that they are helping to feed people,” he said. “We don’t realize what real hunger is, and I would love to take a handful of these people down with me to Haiti sometime to be able to see them distribute it, to see families eating it and realize the little amount of food that they actually have available to them in Haiti.”

Pogue said he would love to work in a mission in Haiti.

“But I feel like I’m called here more so than I am that, so this is what I’m doing,” he said. “To be able to have that privilege of going down after the earthquake and participating that way, and then to be invited back each year to help out, it’s a pretty cool thing.”

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For information about Lifeline Christian Mission, visit lifeline.org.


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