WAVERLY TWP. — A local church is on mission to “transform the world, one meal at a time,” and it’s inviting the community to join in.
The Waverly United Methodist Church, 105 Church St., broke ground for the Waverly Community Garden on Sunday, April 17 and will host a series of launch events this weekend, May 20 through 22.
The Waverly Community Garden Festival Weekend will include a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, with donations benefiting the Stop Hunger Now project; a day full of various volunteer work projects and children’s activities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and an outdoor worship service and garden dedication at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 22.
“Even though it’s located on the church property, we hope to have it truly be embraced by the community,” Ridgeway said of the garden. “We welcome anyone who’s interested to come in and be a part of it.”
She added the project is also inter-generational, and there is something to do for all age groups.
The garden project is now fully financially funded, thanks to the money raised from a chicken and biscuit dinner held in March and grants from the Walmart Corporation and Susquehanna Conference of United Methodist Churches. Volunteers are still needed, however, to help out, not only with the launch weekend, but with ongoing maintenance projects, such as watering, weeding, harvesting and canning.
After harvest, all produce from the garden, which is located behind the church, will be donated to area food banks, soup kitchens and senior centers.
According to Ridgeway, the idea for the project first began to take shape when the church’s pastor, Michelle Whitlock and the rest of the leadership began talking about the talents of the congregation.
“There’s a long history of the church having community meals,” Ridgeway said. “They have an annual bull roast, and they have chicken and biscuit dinners and things like that on a regular basis. And they determined that that’s really a gift for them – the hospitality thing and providing meals for people.”
So, they decided to expand on their use of this “gift” to make a bigger impact on both the local community and the world.
The worldwide portion of this comes with the church’s involvement in Stop Hunger Now, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based organization which, since 1998, has provided more than 225 million meals to people in 73 countries, through its meal packaging program.
On Saturday, between 40 and 50 volunteers are needed to help pack 10,000 meals for distribution through Stop Hunger Now. Those wishing to help out can get more information and sign up online at bit.ly/1NwZ5mY.
Community members are invited to participate, regardless of religious affiliation, and can sign up by calling church volunteer Beth Ridgeway at 484-333-6602.
More information about the nonprofit can be found online at stophungernow.org.