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Parishioners make thousands of meals for hungry in Burkina Faso

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The multipurpose room at Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls was filled with rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, packs of vitamins and chattering volunteers in red plastic hair nets April 13. In just over an hour, the 130 parishioners had measured and packaged the bulk food into 17,000 meals for the hungry in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

Last November, Our Lady of Hope held another parish-wide service project stuffing Christmas stockings for veterans. “That was well received (so) we were looking for something to do for Lent (when) I came across Catholic Relief Service Helping Hands website,” said Lisa Orosa, a religious education assistant for the parish. CRS and a partner organization, Rise Against Hunger, handles the logistics and provides the supplies. The parish provides the fundraising and volunteers.

Starting in February, a collection box sat in the church narthex alongside a sign explaining the project. Instead of raising $8,000, they ended up with $10,000 toward the costs of the meals and transporting the packages of food to Africa. “Kids made their sacrifices and brought in coins,” said Orosa. “People were so generous.”

On Saturday morning, volunteers worked at different stations — funneling the food into bags, weighing the bags, sealing the boxes and loading them on to the Rise Against Hunger truck.

People were happy to participate in the hands-on service project, said Orosa. “It’s something they’re looking forward to doing again next year.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019