Last week we loaded a full shipping container of food (approximately 275,000 meals) into a truck to begin the journey to Kenya. The food will be delivered to those who are tragically affected by the famine and civil wars that are happening in the Horn of Africa. The meals were made possible through Youthfront's Something to Eat initiative in partnership with Jeremy Affeldt's Generation Alive (Spokane, WA) and Future Profits (Palo Alto, CA). The article below was written by Youthfront staff member Austin Averill who directs our Something to Eat initiative.
On a bitter cold winter morning, I was more excited to wake up at four and head to work than I have ever been in my life. On this particular morning, I left the harsh Midwest weather behind with my co-workers Ray Zuercher and Mike King, President of Youthfront, to meet up with San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt, Founder of Generation Alive, in Palo Alto, California. Why, might you ask, would a logistics guru, president of a non-profit organization, recent college graduate, and professional baseball player meet in “The Golden State?” I can think of no better reason than to facilitate a Something to Eat packaging event.
The next day, approximately 300 students flooded through the doors of Sequoia High School’s gymna- sium to package as many Something to Eat meals as possible. “Packing a meal” means measuring rice, soy protein, dried vegetables and a nutrient dense vitamin powder, pouring it all into a bag, and sealing it up. These meals then get packed into a box, which get stacked onto a pallet, which gets basically shrink- wrapped, then is shipped away to feed malnourished orphans. The meals from this particular event went to Kenya, though Youthfront sends meals to various places domestically and abroad.
However, orphans aren’t the only ones who get fed as the result of a Something to Eat event. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the spiritual formation aspect of meal packaging is just as important as the orphans we feed.
The youth who give up a Saturday in order to provide starving people with something to eat do so because they are hungry for justice. They recognize that something is wrong in the world and long to be a part of a solution. Something to Eat provides them with the opportunity to connect others’ physical hunger with their own spiritual hunger, with the hunger for justice and righteousness and the hunger to make the world more complete and more whole, more like the way that God intended.
The kids at Sequoia High were given “something to eat” in a different way every 30 minutes, at which point we paused the packaging for a moment of silence, as well as a short lesson about social justice, world hunger, and how we can have an effect on bringing redemption to this world.
In response to the Horn of Africa’s war and drought-induced famine, the students of Sequoia High raised several thousand dollars which allowed them to package nearly 130,000 meals to send another shipment to the needy.
These students by no means know wealth – and many of them are all too familiar with just the opposite of it. Yet they recognized that there are others in the world who are not only hungry, but who have it even worse than they do. This is what motivated those some might call “the least of these” to dedicate themselves to making the world a better place for someone else. They spread the word about the event, raised money for the raw materials that go into making a meal, and spent an entire Saturday wearing hair nets and packaging meals. THAT is why we do what we do at Youthfront – not for justice alone, but to see young people changed, liberated, transformed for the Kingdom of God.