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  • Writer's pictureJules Arata

a protest against hunger

Updated: Mar 30

Chelan, WA

Chelan, a town you have probably never heard of, but need to add to your bucket list. (this was another last minute change up for me, but i had been wanting to go on this event for a year, so it took no convincing) the town is idyllic, situated right at the southern tip of the North Cascades NP. it honestly feels a little bit like a Hallmark town, one with a cute main street, with diners && pizza places everyone grew up or worked at in high school. it may have been a 3+ hr drive from Seattle, but when you drive in to Chelan, it feels almost like you are where you are supposed to be. you are quiet literally in the middle of the Lord's creation, surrounded by beauty and so much nature, yet there is an overwhelming sense of peace.

the host team framed this event in a way we weren't expecting. during set up, they kept talking about creating a photo op for the volunteers, but no more clarity was given past that. so the next morning when the host gets up to introduce me, she starts talking about the volunteers showing up to participating in a protest against hunger.

while different, this is not an incorrect way to look at these meal packing events.

volunteers show up in order to help fight starvation && do something to stand up to injustice. they show up in efforts to be a part of something bigger than themselves. to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to fight for His children to be fed in body & spirit, no matter where.

yes, this is a pretty serious way to spend your free time on a Saturday. but the day was full of laughter as well. there was arm wrestling and talking about special needs respite programs. there was moments of sitting in the action with the volunteers, being their boxer and getting to be a part of their laughter and excitement. there was song requests of the entire Shrek soundtrack and the Aglet Song (+ every song they wrote) from Phineas and Ferb. there were shouts like: "Cowabunga" & "Yeehaw" and even the discussions to decide on those had me doubled over in laughter.

this event was one marked by generosity and a community coming together in order to put it on. there were donations of time and resources in every form. one of the hosts, Konnar, showed this generous spirit without thinking. i think throughout the day, he had about 15 different hairnets, and maybe this sounds wasteful to you, but when i asked him about it, his answer was so unexpected. he told me he kept giving his hairnet away to other volunteers, that people kept coming in to pack, and he wanted to include everyone. he gave them his hairnet and plugged them into a group, so more of his community could be a part of this event.

in our staff meeting this week, someone shared this sentiment:

"know when you look in the mirror, you have done much more than you think"

this is not only something that i want to remember for myself, but want to share with our volunteers. i already try to make sure they understand the impact of what they are doing, that the next person to touch the food they pack, will be the kids who are receiving it. that the kids know there is someone on the other side of this food, && that the simple act of the volunteers showing up to pack is important.

every single day, God brings people into our lives to bring them back to Jesus in a moment. we get to work for Christ's sake, on mission for the Kingdom! One came for all in hopes the all would unify as one. what a gift we have been given to work with volunteers! of course there are some seeds you do not get to see grow, but there is also an insane impact you can see immediately.

so this sentiment, i want to take it with me and share it liberally with others.

in that same meeting, we also got to meet one of our partners Johanne who works with Help for Haiti. she shared her story, explained the heart behind her ministry, && just her why. that what drives them is that they feed in order educate so that they can employ. she also shared some really good life knowledge:

you can plan. that's great to have something to look forward to every day you wake up, but you cannot expect them to carry out that way.

God has a better plan for you, one that you couldn't possibly foresee.

what i learned

  1. i may have just found a new favorite mountain town

  2. go to the local diner, always worth it

  3. some dreams do match the reality

how i grew

it is such a blessing to feel a part of so many families all over the country. that they welcomed me into their hearts, inside jokes, and gift me with their joy & trust.

favorite parts

random quotes: "chool bus" & "picket ball" & "chillen" & "venmo egg"

red robin

canned apple juice

caesar salads

being a boxer

apple cup diner

the haunted house

innovation that excites


volunteers: 350

boxes packed: 468

meals packed: 101,088

kids fed daily meal for a year: 276

to the community of Chelan

thank you for welcoming us into your hearts && your community so readily. it feels like the event was too short, that we just didn't have enough time with y'all. you guys are passionate about doing something to make a change, not complacent to sit & let injustice continue. you are a small town with a big heart, steeped in prayer, surrounded by beauty, and full of laughter. thankful to have you take up space in my heart && to call you brothers & sisters in Christ. may we meet again.

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