Brownstown church packs 12,000 meals for Ukrainian refugees


By Mitchell Banks | The Tribune

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Volunteers gathered in the basement of Brownstown Christian Church on Wednesday evening to prepare meal kits for Ukrainian refugees.

The church, located at 703 W. Spring St, Brownstown, has worked with Lifeline Christian Mission in previous years to send meals to Haiti.

Lifeline is a nonprofit organization that provides meals to Caribbean people in countries like Haiti and Honduras.

Doug Pogue, associate minister of the church, said this year, the church worked with Lifeline to send meals to Ukraine because of the ongoing war and “the sense of support that the American people want to give to them.”

He said the meals are intended for Ukrainian refugees but will eventually end up at a church in Poland.

“Even more so, we want to be hands and feet of Jesus in order to be able to help other people in need,” Pogue said.

Around 50 volunteers worked across four stations to put together approximately 12,000 meals.

One meal kit consists of barley, rice, dried vegetables and a vitamin supplement. A kit provides six to eight meals.

Pogue said the turnout for the meal packing was “phenomenal,” and he didn’t know how many people to

expect because it was the week after spring break for Brownstown schools.

“I think people enjoy doing this because they can do it together, but it also gives them a way to be able to express themselves,” Pogue said.

Justin Johnson, project manager for Lifeline, said the meals the church prepared would go into a shipping container of around 285,000 meals.

He loaded up meal and hygiene kits to take to a Lifeline location in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday and said the organization was stockpiling resources until they have enough to put on a shipping container and send it overseas.

A church in Russia was able to inform Lifeline of how they could provide relief to refugees, and Johnson said the ministry has many locations across the globe, so it’s easy to connect with people who will help in times of crisis.

“It’s neat how the kingdom of God stretches into other borders, like how a Russian church is helping out the Ukrainian church to help the U.S. church get into the Poland churches,” he said. “It’s really apolitical. It subverts the kingdoms of this world, and we take care of people. The economy of Christ is people.”

Lifelife also is working with Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism, a faith-based Indianapolis medical relief organization, to send meals to Ukrainian refugees.

Johnson said it felt awesome to see so many people come together to help others in Jesus’ name.

“It’s not really forced when you’re a Jesus follower,” he said. “It just comes out of you because you love Christ and this stuff happens in the tailwind. That’s why Lifeline is able to do what they do is because all of these churches everywhere across the globe are just trying to love and take care of people because action happens in the tailwind of having a love for Jesus.”

Medora native Dirk Smith helped tape boxes shut after they were filled with meal kits.

He said the highlight of his night was watching those of a younger generation volunteer.

“I couldn’t imagine living my life with the experiences they’re witnessing right now,” he said.

Ashlynn Moffatt, an eighth-grader at Brownstown Central Middle School, helped put all of the food into a meal kit and seal them to be put into boxes.

She said she volunteers because she knows they need the help, and she feels better about herself knowing she can help others in need.

“It honestly makes me feel really good,” Moffatt said. “I wanted to take a break earlier, but I just kept going because I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and I like doing this.”

Last year, Brownstown Christian Church and Lifeline were able to provide 20,000 meal kits to send to Haiti.

They provided 7,000 meals to Haiti in 2019 and 10,000 meals to the same country in 2017.

There were no meal packing events at the church in 2018 or 2020.

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