Packing school lunches on global scale

PORT ANGELES ­— It’s an afternoon, a morning or both, packing school lunches on a grand, border-crossing scale.

The first-ever Olympic Peninsula Meal Marathon on Saturday has two shifts: 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. — and an abundance of ambition.

Karen Coles of Port Angeles, together with the nonprofit Christian organization Children of the Nations, wants to package 100,000 meals to be sent to youngsters in Africa and the Dominican Republic.

She’s inviting volunteers to join her Saturday in the gym at Roosevelt Elementary School, 106 Monroe Road, for the morning shift, the afternoon or both.

Families, church groups, clubs, couples and singles are welcome, she said.

Coles is also hoping to find a restaurant or caterer to provide lunch for the volunteers.

The Meal Marathon coordinator can be reached at 360-417-8988 and caddis@olypen.com.

Register by Wednesday

Wednesday is the deadline to register as a volunteer.

This Meal Marathon is like dozens of others held across the United States each year to provide the packaged meals that Children of the Nations gives to kids in schools, feeding centers and orphans’ homes.

But the Port Angeles effort is unusual.

Despite the small size of the community, the marathon is aiming for a higher-than-average output.

“A hundred thousand is one of our bigger events for sure,” said Dave Spoon, the international feeding coordinator for Children of the Nations.

Twenty thousand to 50,000 is a more typical number at marathons elsewhere in Washington and in California and Florida, he added.

“Karen Coles is very driven, very vision-oriented,” Spoon said of the retired university professor who volunteered to organize Port Angeles’ Meal Marathon.

Via some 50 packaging events, 2.5 million meals will be sent to Malawi, Uganda, Sierra Leone and the Dominican Republic this year, he added.

Impoverished children receive the meals on an ongoing basis so they can attend school.

“We have cooks who cook the food daily for the kids. It’s supplemented with in-country spices and with meat on a good day,” Spoon said.

“We are not a relief agency. We are a holistic care organization trying to help children thrive.”

Children of the Nations’ website, www.COTNI.org, states the 16-year-old organization’s mission: “Partnering with nationals to provide holistic, Christ-centered care for orphaned and destitute children, enabling them to create positive and lasting change in their nations.”

Nondenominational

Coles, who attends Independent Bible Church in Port Angeles, added that Children of the Nations is nondenominational.

She’s been volunteering with the nonprofit for eight years, has visited its headquarters in Silverdale — and with her husband, Ron, has traveled to its facilities in the Dominican Republic and Malawi.

“We feel so strongly about this,” she said.

At Saturday’s Olympic Peninsula Meal Marathon, teams of eight to 12 volunteers will work around a table to package and seal lentils, rice, spices, dehydrated vegetables and vitamins.

“This is a good opportunity to form a group made up of folks from many areas of your life,” Coles said, “such as fellow employees [and] family members.

“Children age 7 and older are encouraged to come with adults.”

Coles also welcomes donations to defray the $25,000 in food costs.

She’s raised about $20,000 so far and accepts checks made out to Children of the Nations and sent to her at 220 Mount Pleasant Estates Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

“Right in your own community,” said Spoon, “you can do something that will allow a child to live and to go to school.”

Those kids, he believes, can then go on to college and into positions of influence.

“Our vision,” Spoon said, “is to transform nations.”

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in Life

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during Saturday’s annual plant sale and raffle at the floral barn at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles. The sale, hosted by the Port Angeles Garden Club, was a fundraiser for club projects and scholarships, and it featured a wide variety of plants for the upcoming growing season and beyond. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Plant sale at Clallam County Fairgrounds

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during… Continue reading

The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday's awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year's recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Six honored for community service efforts

Volunteers provide energy for trails, respite care

Photo by Karen Griffiths

Cutline: A fundraiser for WAG and Open starts Today at 11 a.m. with an English and jumping fun show, followed tomorrow with a Western Games show at Kari Payne’s 4-L arena off Blue Mountain Road, 95 S. McCrorie Rd. Port Angeles.  Fox-Bell Farm owner Shelby Vaughan, and her assistants Sophie Feik and Kaia Lestage (holding Marley) will be there to host. Shown is Tatar Trots, 10. a horse Shelby got from OPEN five years ago when he was a feral, unhandled stallion and, now, after castrating and training,  he’s a docile horse who enjoys teaching kids how to ride.

 

(Rescue dog Rocky laying down if he’s shown in photo)
HORSEPLAY: Rescue program gives horses new life

SHELBY VAUGHAN WAS born into the rescue mindset. She grew up on… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: For garden chores, keep the spring in your step

SO THE DREAM Playground build is going wonderfully. Thank you for those… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a gracious and hospitable host

NOTICE OUR ROAD traffic is getting busier? Yep. We are beginning our… Continue reading

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and Tie up your Camel” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Schellink is the guest speaker at Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Ave.
Weekend program scheduled for Unity in the Olympics

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker slated in Port Angeles

Phoenix Biggs will present “Singing of Honor… Continue reading

Jaiden Dokken, at Jeanette Best Gallery in Port Townsend, is Northwind Art’s new exhibits coordinator. (Northwind Art)
Poet laureate takes on new role with Northwind Art

Artist, poet and educator Jaiden Dokken is Northwind Art’s… Continue reading

Author John Vaillant stands in front of the iconic tower at Port Angeles City Pier. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Author visits Peninsula for Writer in Residence program

Vaillant awarded Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

A GROWING CONCERN: Volunteers a dream for playground

YOU, MY LOYAL readers, have been excellent the couple of times I… Continue reading

Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

Joanna Gabriel will present the lesson at 11 a.m.… Continue reading