GALLIPOLIS — Like-minded individuals gathered in the Ohio Valley Christian School gymnasium Friday to pack around 57,000 meals for those in need in Haiti in an act of volunteerism and fellowship.
According to OVCS Chief Administrator Patrick O’Donnell, between 250 and 270 volunteers assisted with the effort between 11 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. during packing day. Volunteer efforts packed roughly four pallets of food with 66 boxes on each pallet. Each box consisted of around 215 meals. Volunteers came in throughout the day to assist and some, many OVCS students, stayed throughout the day to assist. Pallets will then be shipped to Haiti.
“There are roughly 30,000 people in Gallia County,” said O’Donnell. “So, we will have fed almost twice the number of people in Gallia County in Haiti. Chris Blank helped us get connected with Lifeline Christian Mission. It’s located in Westerville and Lifeline sends an enormous amount of food and durable goods to impoverished places in the world. For the last three years, we’d gone to Lifeline High School to pack boxes full of clothing, goods and food. The last two years, we’ve taken over 15,000 pairs of flip-flops that have been donated.”
O’Donnell said Haiti was still in need after having endured by an earthquake and then a hurricane two summers ago. O’Donnell credited Blank as being the starting idea behind OVCS participation. Blank serves as a flight medic and as the school’s transportation director.
The chief administrator said the coalition of volunteers for the food packing consisted of Fellowship of Faith Church, First Baptist Church, OVCS students, Mercerville Baptist Church Youth Group and Gallipolis Christian Church’s bowling team. Those mentioned either volunteered time, money or both. The Shake Shoppe and Dr. Kelly Roush also made financial contributions to the effort.
Volunteers of all ages partook in the endeavor with some as young as preschool assisted by seniors in the packing process.
Packed food consisted of a mixture of rice, beans, vegetables and soy protein along with vitamin enrichment. Packaged bags of six meals cost roughly $1.38.
“Chris came to me and told me about it and I got excited,” said O’Donnell. “It’s a great thing that you can involve a lot of people in and you can make a real difference. You can have a ministry that matters to people in a far off country and it allows our folks here, and especially our kids, to have an impact on their world for Christ, right now. Because that’s what it’s all about, sharing Christ’s love with others and letting them know that he and we care about them.”
The chief administrator said that OVCS graduates Annee Carman and Emily Carman had both visited Haiti in the past as part of mission trips to observe and serve those living there. O’Donnell said volunteers were hoping to potentially double their meals to Haiti in the following year and invited any to come and assist in the effort.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.