Want to help?
For more information or to get involved, contact:
Action Ministries: 678-978-3368
While trying to break a world record Saturday morning, 75 local volunteers did something much better than securing their place in Guiness.
Outside of the Oakwood Sam’s Club, volunteers formed an "assembly line" of sorts to make as many sandwiches as they could in one hour for Action Ministry’s Smart Lunch Smart Kid summer feeding program. After 23 minutes and 19 seconds, the volunteers had slapped together 3,546 ham and cheese sandwiches for hungry kids in Hall County.
"We stopped only because we ran short on supplies," said Beth Holmes, local Action Ministries program coordinator.
Holmes said the volunteers "shattered the world record" which was 2,700, but the volunteers will have to wait at least another 6 weeks to know for certain if they’ll be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Similar events were held in other Georgia cities at the same time with as much success. The events were sponsored by Sam’s Club, The United Methodist Church’s Rethink Church initiative and Action
The ministry delivers food to several low-income neighborhoods in Hall County each day of the week. The program aims to provide more than 40,000 meals to hungry children this summer. Statewide, the program served 117,000 meals last year.
"Every one of the sandwiches that was made (in Oakwood) stays in Hall County," Holmes said. "But it wasn’t so much about breaking a world record as it was about helping people find out about hunger and feeding people."
Mayor Pro-Tem and volunteer George Wangemann agreed.
"The world record was certainly secondary," he said. "Although we did break it and we were certainly pleased that we did and proud of that achievement there. The even greater achievement was the feeding of these children to make sure they’re getting some semblance of proper nutrition on a daily basis."
Many of the children who are fed through the program receive a free or reduced-price lunch through their schools, but during weekends and summer months, the children don’t have access to meals.
"We were just trying to provide as much as we could for kids who are in need," said Ron Winkowski, a volunteer and member of the Gainesville First United Methodist Church. "A lot of times, these kids get their lunches provided during the school year and then they fall off the edge of the earth a little bit during the summer time when nobody is looking after them."
Holmes said she was very pleased and a little "overwhelmed" with the turn out. She said it was interesting to watch the people, many of whom are of different faiths and walks of life, make friends with each other as they made the lunches.
Many of the volunteers expressed an interest in volunteering with the organization in other ways, which Holmes said is most certainly needed.
The program will continue until Aug. 9, just before the school year starts again.
"We definitely still need help," Holmes said. "We definitely still need lunch donors. We’ve got sandwiches but they’re not going to last forever so we’ll need more groups and more churches to donate time, money, snacks and bottled water."
Winkowski said he and his wife, Betty Fisher Winkowski, will offer their assistance to the ministry again in the future. Except next time, they’ll bring all of their grandchildren to help make the load a little lighter.