Published January 1, 2016
PEACHTREE CITY—To celebrate Advent, some 500 parishioners of Holy Trinity Church in Peachtree City gathered Saturday, Dec. 10, to package 94,000 meals for needy brothers and sisters in Burkina Faso, a desperately poor West African nation. The parish raised nearly $50,000 during its third annual Helping Hands project, a program developed by Catholic Relief Services.
Volunteers arrived at the church at 6:30 a.m. to begin setting up the parish hall for assembly line packaging. Other volunteers, including teens and adults, unloaded the truck that transported hundreds of 50-pound sacks of bulk food to the church. The food is purchased from Stop Hunger Now, which also provides the necessary equipment to package bulk food into meal-sized, sealed packets suitable for shipment and distribution.
The assembly line ran in two shifts, each powered by more than 200 volunteers who arrived full of energy to work collaboratively. Volunteers as young as 3 years old served as “runners” to transport food packets from packaging stations to the sealing, weighing and boxing stations. Senior volunteers sealed the packets and handed them off for boxing.
Due to the increase in volunteers, the organizing committee has determined that a third shift could be established next year to accommodate all who want to participate. Holy Trinity will now accept donations throughout the year to fund the purchase of the bulk food.
As with every giving opportunity, those most blessed were the volunteers themselves, said event coordinator Gerry Carolan.
Holy Trinity is a diverse parish with dozens of different ministries and groups. This event has volunteers working shoulder-to-shoulder with those who attend different Masses and belong to different groups. At the end of each shift, volunteers could be heard saying goodbye to new friends. The annual food-packing day has built a greater sense of community in the large parish.
Many volunteers participate as a family and make this event the start of their Christmas celebrations. One family, the Hotis, was on hand to volunteer. Holy Trinity sponsored the Hotis as refugees from Kosovo through Catholic Charities more than 15 years ago. They are Muslims and are now proud U.S. citizens. They look for opportunities to show gratitude to the church that offered them refuge many years ago.
To contribute to Holy Trinity Church’s CRS Helping Hands effort, visit online at www.holytrinityptc.org and click on the donate tab at the top of the page. Helping Hands CRS is one of several giving options listed.