Reacting to Haiti's earthquake, a tiny small-town charity has assembled, packaged and shipped three-million meals for desperate, starving Hatians -- and is spreading the project nationwide.
This weekend, hundreds of community volunteers teamed with El Dorado, Kansas, charity Numana, Inc., in an auditorium at nearby Wichita State University, to package about 600,000 meals -- pushing Numana's total meal shipments to Haiti to nearly 3 million since the quake. The spectacular event is the latest in a growing number of Haiti-feeding events by Numana (prounounced "new-MANNA").
As they eagerly chatted at tiny assembly lines throughout the hall, elderly church-goers mingled with college students and teens, and whole familes from grandparents to small children, worked busil0y in one-hour shifts to turn raw materials into packaged meals -- by the truckload.
Numana, founded last year by a small-town minister from nearby Potwin, Rev. Rick McNary, and his small team of local businessmen-volunteers, has leveraged the support of some big political names and food-products companies, and an army of volunteers from throughout south-central Kansas, turning the region into a hotbed of Haiti-feeding.
With help from a handful of local small businessmen, and some heavy-hitting support from two former U.S. presidential nominees
, -- Republican Bob Dole and Democrat George McGovern -- McNary managed to wrangle a deal to acquire large quantities of raw food from major grain suppliers and food processers. But it has taken volunteers -- thousands of them -- to turn the raw grains into packaged meals ready to ship to Haiti.
Over a half-million Numana meals volunteer-packaged in El Dorado the first weekend after the quake -- plus December-assembled shipments awaiting transit in a warehouse -- were among the first major supplies of food to reach Haiti from the United States Initial shipments to Haiti, through the Salvation Army and military air-drops, were among the first major supplies of food reaching stranded, starving Haitians in the quake-torn region. The millions of Numana meals initially dwarfed the food shipments of almost any other charity in the United States.
Almost every weekend since the disaster, Numana (prounounced: "new-MANNA") -- drawing thousands of volunteers from throughout central Kansas -- has turned auditoriums and arenas in to giant temporary food-processing factories, staffed with hundreds, even thousands, of enthusiastic workers. The resulting meals are being delivered into Haiti by the Salvation Army and military airlift.
This weekend's event follows three previous food-packaging events -- two in El Dorado, one the day before New Year's Eve, and another the weekend after the quake, and a massive January 24th weekend event. At the latter event, in nearby Wichita, Kansas , at the state's biggest arena, the Kansas Coliseum -- where, in just 48 hours, Numana volunteers managed to package up over one million meals, of dried grains and vegetables, and chewable or powdered vitamins.
Numana's events continue to expand in central Kansas, with an aircraft factory, a college, and two school districts teaming with Numana for special "feed Haiti" events in their facilities.
Taking this show on the road, Numana has announced events in Kansas City, and Chicago, later this month, and is planning giant volunteer events for Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
McNary hopes to continue with more events, and to encourage and assist others in developing similar events around the nation. "You can do it. You've just got to have faith," he says.
(For media, copyright & charges waived; no credit required, or credit "B.Judge, Newsvine.com"; author is independent journalist, not affiliated with Numana, Inc.)
a 501(c)3 charity
based in El Dorado, Kansas, USA