Camp Meeting Promotes Living Generously
Just 10 minutes before the Rise Against Hunger and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) service project at Washington Adventist Camp Meeting, only 25 volunteers had shown up and signed in.
“We ended up having 175 people here helping us pack 20,000 meals,” says Jodi Iwankiw, local project coordinator.
The volunteers at stations placed scoops of soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, rice and a vitamin packet in bags that other volunteers then weighed for consistency, sealed, labeled and boxed up to ship to a developing country.
“I got to work with my mom, my daughter and some kids from Puyallup,” says Lavonne Long, a second-time Rise Against Hunger volunteer. “Our station went so fast. The kids at first said, ‘My parents made me come here.’ They ended up having so much fun.”
While service projects are not new for youth and earliteen volunteers, this is the first time for all generations to work together and actively illustrate the "Living Generously" camp meeting theme. The joint service project was such a success, volunteers asked for the Rise Against Hunger service project to return to camp meeting. Additional volunteers are already planning how they can bring a similar project to their church or school community.
As is their tradition, the youth division spent a day volunteering at the World Vision warehouse. While volunteers last year helped assemble supply-filled backpacks for students, this year's volunteers helped sort donations, removed branded stitching from donated clothes and moved donation boxes among other activities, reports Andreas Beccai, youth division leader. Earliteen volunteers also participated in community service projects.
“I didn’t want to go (at first), but once I went, I enjoyed myself and felt a lot better about it,” says Jake Smith, a youth volunteer.
Noah Wenberg thought the volunteering time was really good: “I just like doing stuff like that. I had good friends so we got it done quickly. I wish we would have had time to stay longer.”
Camp meeting attendees had both hands-on and intellectual experience with the "Living Generously" theme between the service activities and keynote messages highlighting the generosity of God.
“You don’t have to live generously just one time a year,” says Doug Bing, Washington Conference president. “We live in a land of plenty. We have a social responsibility and a spiritual responsibility to live like Jesus would want us to live. I encourage you to get involved in ministry, not just today, but every day.”