Twice a year in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania mission-minded folks come together for the cause of the hungry, poor, and thirsty around the world. Pennsylvania is home to the GAIN Logistics Center (GLC), the warehouse that receives, preps, stores, and ships humanitarian aid to our Cru partners in difficult places like Africa and the Middle East. The semi-annual Mission Packing Project, held at the GLC in June and October, gives people an opportunity to participate in global missions without leaving the US.
My second week working at GAIN, I traveled to this event. Although it is a week-long event, I was there the last two days. My assignment was to participate in many different stations to learn how each area works. I folded used clothes, sorted new clothes, scooped beans for meals, worked on an assembly line packaging drip-irrigation systems, assembled Gospel bead bracelets, and traced and cut patterns for LuoPads (feminine hygiene supplies for women in developing nations). And, there were stations and jobs that I didn’t get to try. A lot of aid was sorted, assembled, and packed during that week!
Many church and youth groups traveled to the GLC; some of those churches offer this as an annual mission trip. Locals come to the packing event, and some also volunteer at the center regularly. If you have been looking for a way introduce your kids to global missions, this is a great place to start. The packing event allows families work and learn together. There is even an interactive exploration station specifically for kids to teach them about the people and countries we serve.
I was impressed at the number of elderly people who attend every year. They really have a heart to serve! A nursing home or assisted living center even came for a little while one day to help put together school supply care packs. That station is mostly worked by kids who come with their families. It was wonderful to hear stories of how the kids helped the elderly participants by holding the supply bag for them as they shuffled around the station. This is not only a place to ultimately serve the global community, but also to serve those working beside you.
The tally board displays the work done during the week. These pictures were from the last day, but the board didn’t include the final numbers. But, you can see what types of items are prepared for shipping and get an idea of how much was done. (Click these to see a larger image.)
I will likely be working at this event each June and October. It’s a fabulous opportunity to bring your family and serve together. I invite you to come join the fun! The next event is October 12-17. Registration will begin soon!