Feed the Shoe
Volunteers can help the hungry at Ohio Stadium
Lifeline Christian Mission hopes to involve all of central Ohio in its efforts to feed the hungry.
The Westerville-based nonprofit is inviting volunteers to Ohio Stadium from Aug. 10 through Aug. 12, where they will be able to pack meals to be sent to the hungry around the world. A food drive for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry will be held at the same time.
For a fee of $25 a person, volunteers or groups of volunteers can package 135 meals to be sent abroad. The fee covers the cost of the food, packing materials and shipping.
The event, titled "Feed the Shoe," is meant to provide volunteers with a hands-on way to help others.
"People, I think, still want to help, and some people write checks to help, but this is a tangible way people (can help)," said event organizer Matt Collins.
"In a few months, these bags are going to be in the hands of people who need help."
For the past six years, Lifeline has organized similar events on an individual basis for volunteer groups, Collins said.
"We mostly would do it with churches. They would organize the people, raise the funds and we would bring all the supplies and equipment to them," Collins said.
The growing popularity of the program encouraged Lifeline to try to organize a larger scale event, with the hopes of making it an annual event, Collins said.
"(I thought) what would be awesome is to get the entire Columbus community together to do a huge event," Collins said. "This is our first go at trying to do something big, where it's not just one organization or one church or one entity."
Collins said the group knew it would face challenges in organizing the event, particularly because Lifeline tends to keep a low profile in central Ohio.
The group has operated for more than 30 years. It sends groups on missions to Haiti, El Salvador, Cuba, Honduras, Canada and the United States. It runs medical clinics and schools around the world.
The food-packaging ministry sends bundles of rice, high-protein food -- notably peanut butter -- vegetables and vitamins to anywhere in the world they will be accepted, Collins said. In the past, meals have gone to Africa and North Korea.
The program has seen great success since its inception, Collins said, and the hope is that Feed the Shoe will have a similar story.
"I think it's just going to blow up, just like our program. We started doing a couple hundred thousand meals, and we did almost 4 million last year," Collins said. "We thought we can involve the Columbus community in something that's bigger than all of us."
The event also holds a draw for Ohio State football fans. After volunteers finish their shifts, they will be allowed onto the field at Ohio Stadium to take pictures.
Those interested in participating in Feed the Shoe are able to sign up for a volunteer shift anytime during the three-day event.
More information, and registration, can be found on Lifeline's website, lifeline.org/OSU or by calling Lifeline's office at 614-794-0108.