It is estimated that 23% of the children living in Okaloosa County experience food insecurity. This means they often do not know from where their next meal will come - a startling statistic. In a community-wide effort, St. Simon's on-the-Sound plans to help these children.
On Saturday, June 24, the parish will sponsor a project called "Feed the Need," hoping to bring together 640 volunteers over a five-hour period to package 100,000 meals for distribution across the county. In addition to the Fort Walton Beach congregation, the other parishes in Okaloosa County, Epiphany (Crestview), St. Andrews By-the-Sea (Destin) and St. Jude's (Niceville), are participating. Additionally, Gregg Chapel, an AME congregation, will provide the space for this massive project to take place.
The project is the idea of the rector and deacon at St. Simon's, the Rev. David Knight and the Rev. Deacon Clelia Garrity, respectively, who organized and participated similar events at parishes where they previously served. It involves taking food in bulk, such as instant oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, breaking them down into meals, packaging the meals, and delivering them to agencies in the county for distribution to children in need.
The work is done by teams of 10 people, who do this in an assembly-line process around a table. Volunteers sign up for 90-minute shifts starting at 9:00 am on June 24. To pay for the bulk food, the volunteers are asked to donate $30 (or $300 for a 10-person table team). It is estimated that $30 will provide 120 meals, and $300 will provide 1,200 meals. Those who are unable to contribute are still invited to participate in the food packing, as donations are also being sought from those unable to help on the day of the event. In addition to the food packing, volunteers are needed to help with logistics and distribution.
Father David and Deacon Clelia note that in earlier events like this, the camaraderie is as enjoyable as the satisfaction that comes from knowing you are helping hundreds of children who might otherwise go to bed hungry at night. Music and other entertainment will be part of the event.
Congregations and individuals who would like to participate or who would like more information, can contact Deacon Clelia at 561-271-2890, 850-244-8621 or Admin@StSimons-FWB.org or visit the website: www.FeedtheNeed.Life.
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