The Mennonite Central Committee continues to make its mark in Waterloo Region. With a mission including relief, development and peace, volunteers from the area continue to lend a hand wherever they can in helping make a difference for the needy within our community and around the world.
Recently, the annual meat canning operation stopped in Elmira, as it has done every year for the last 20 years, to help feed the hungry.
About 400 volunteers came together to package 14,000 cans of chicken.
“Volunteers love this. Some come back year after year,” says Fred Redekop, MCC church and community relations associate in Waterloo Region. “We always receive a great response from the community.”
Even though the cans have a three-year shelf life, they typically run out each year and according to Redekop, one can is able to feed a family for up to a week. The cans are delivered to places affected by natural disasters and long-term poverty including countries such as: Burkina Faso, North Korea, the Ukraine and Puerto Rico.
The mobile meat canner will continue to move across the United States to package chicken, beef, turkey and pork.
Elmira is one of just two stops in Canada — the other is Leamington, Ont.
“The meat goes a long way in places like North Korea where meat protein is especially needed in pediatric hospitals,” Redekop said.
Redekop is grateful to be a part of the Mennonite Central Committee that once came to the aid of his parents in the Ukraine in the 1920’s. It was the organization’s very first mission: to provide food for Mennonite farmers in the country who were hungry and struggling to keep their crops alive. The organization then realized that not only are they able to help fellow Mennonites, but they were also able to respond to help anyone in need.
“I have a deep love and commitment to this organization which me and my wife began working with early on in our marriage,” Redekop said. “The committee is amazing. It’s not about politics or advocacy. It’s about feeding people who are hungry.”
The Central Mennonite Committee, founded in Chicago Illinois in 1920, continues to be a relief service and peace agency representing 15 Mennonite, Brethren and Amish bodies in North America. MCC Canada was founded in 1963.