859 youth. 37,000 meals. Ending global hunger by 2030.

Between the Saturday sessions of Pilgrimage 2017, youth groups from across the North Carolina Conference gathered at the Crown Arena to join in packaging meals with Rise Against Hunger. If you’ve ever packaged a meal while singing Sweet Caroline, then you understand the power of transforming youthful energy into a sustainable mission of hunger relief.

Pilgrimage 2017: Rise Against Hunger

It was more than just karaoke in hairnets, though. For four hours, youth packaged highly nutritious meals to be sent to vulnerable populations around the world. In 2016, Rise Against Hunger volunteers fed over one million in people in seventy-four countries. The youth at Pilgrimage 2016 contributed to that statistic, and the youth at Pilgrimage 2017 will be a part of this year’s continued effort to end hunger by 2030.

It’s a Pilgrimage tradition to offer youth an opportunity to participate in mission work on Saturday afternoon that puts their faith in action. Many groups participate year after year, choosing to spend their free time aiding individuals around the world. This year, youth and adults from Soapstone UMC volunteered to spend their entire afternoon as sustainers—meaning they packaged, refilled, loaded, and unloaded for a non-stop four-hour session.

Pilgrimage 2017: Rise Against Hunger

This afternoon, we saw our Pilgrimage theme, A Place at the Table, transformed, as these 859 individuals provided actual food to adorn the tables of the neediest around the world. As Christ invites us, let us be gracious hosts and go into the world to invite all to our banquet.

There was dancing. There was teamwork. There was learning. There was fellowship. We hope you’ll join us next year at the Crown! “Hunger doesn’t have to exist. Let’s end it together.”

*Article written by Hannah McMillan

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