By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published April 3, 2019
COLLEGE PARK—With their experiences of service and putting the needs of others in front of their own, veterans, active duty military and those who support them are invited to gather together at the start of the 2019 Eucharistic Congress on Friday, June 21.
The Starve Wars campaign will kick off this year with a chance for military veterans to work again side by side. This time, they will join together to pack meals for people in need in Burkina Faso.
The program will be led by Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a pilot before entering seminary.
Some 300,000 women and men who have served in uniform make metro Atlanta their home, according to census data.
Starve Wars is a collaborative effort between the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s Justice and Peace Ministries, Catholic Relief Services Helping Hands and the people of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The goal is to package some 100,000 protein-rich meal kits for the west African country.
The meal-packing event is part of Catholic Relief Services’ initiatives in Burkina Faso, a poor country with limited farmland. About one in three citizens can read. While the meals help meet immediate needs, the international Catholic nonprofit also invests in sustainable development projects in the country.
Kat Doyle, director of Justice and Peace Ministries, said through military experience, women and men have seen needs in far corners of the world. During their duty, they may not have been able to help local residents in a way they would have liked. This annual event is a chance for them to remember what they saw and help others, she said.
“These are people who want to give and serve the common good,” said Doyle.
Families of military service members are also invited. Older veterans may want to consider bringing along their children or grandchildren to spend time with them in a special and fun way, she said.
Supporters of the effort are also encouraged to consider forming fundraising teams to help pay for some of the cost of the event. Participation is free, but there are expenses for the organizing groups to package and ship the materials.