Youth Ministry launches crowdfunding project to feed 500,000

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Participants at the 2013 LCMS Youth Gathering in San Antonio place packaged meals into boxes to be sent out to people who need food. That effort provided 323,000 meals. LCMS Youth Ministry is spearheading a crowdfunding program so that 127,000 more meals can be packed at the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering next summer in New Orleans. (Nathan Harrmann, Gathering Media)

When tens of thousands of young people are in New Orleans for the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering July 16-20, they will have a goal of packaging as many as 500,000 meals to distribute among those who suffer from hunger in that city and around the world.

Some 323,000 meals for the hungry were packaged by participants at the 2013 Gathering in San Antonio.

LCMS Youth Ministry, which sponsors the triennial Gatherings that include such servant events, is upping the ante for 2016 by setting up a crowdfunding project to help raise a final $25,000 to make that goal of packaging half a million meals a reality.

The project’s “WeRaise” crowdfunding platform hosted by Wheat Ridge Ministries — an LCMS Recognized Service Organization — allows supporters to donate any amount toward the $25,000 goal. For that platform, go to thelc.ms/youthfeedingchildren. In addition to providing the vehicle for giving, that Web page features a video with more information about the project.

Also, information to help share news about the “WeRaise” project supporting the Gathering servant event next year is available online.

The program is an all-or-nothing effort. In other words, the full $25,000 must be pledged via WeRaise to support providing an additional 100,000 meals for Gathering participants to package. Breaking down those numbers, each dollar pays for four meals for those who are hungry.

LCMS members, friends and others also are encouraged to share word about the We Raise program, to maximizing its impact.

“The LCMS Youth Gathering and events like it give opportunities for participants to see the mercy work of the Church on both a global and local scale,” said the Rev. Mark Kiessling, interim director of LCMS Youth Ministry and LCMS Youth Gathering program director. “Young people see the effect they have when pooling their resources and activity together and continue serving back home in their congregations and communities.”

Kiessling explained that through registration funds for the Gathering, “youth will provide $50,000 towards the [feeding-the-hungry] effort with a matching amount of $50,000 from LCMS mercy grants. The WeRaise project allows participants, parents and the greater church to provide additional resources to the cause of serving our neighbor in New Orleans and beyond.”

The 323,000 meals packaged at the 2013 Gathering were distributed through a partnership with “Feeding Children Everywhere,” an organization that “empowers and mobilizes people to assemble healthy meals for hungry children.”

“We offered this opportunity on the convention-center floor on the first day of the Gathering in 2013,” said Amy Gray, media and publications project coordinator for LCMS Youth Ministry. “There were so many people interested in helping that we went through all of the supplies on the first day of the event. For 2016, we’ll have the space, time and people to pack more meals than we did in 2013.  Our youth are committed to feeding and serving more people. They know a good portion of their registration dollars are going to this and that the workload will be higher. Our Mercy ministries are committing dollars to match what the youth are supplying. Our young people pray that others will come alongside and joyfully help supply the final 100,000 meals of a very audacious, faith-filled goal.”

LCMS Youth Gatherings bring both youth and adults together for five days to spend time in God’s Word, worship, service and fellowship with others from across the LCMS.

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Posted Oct. 26, 2015 / Update Nov. 12, 2015

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