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Bethel seeks volunteers to “help feed Haiti”

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College invites residents of Harvey County and the surrounding area to join what has already been a tremendous response by south central Kansans to the recent earthquake in Haiti.

In keeping with the college’s mission, which includes an ethic of service, Bethel will partner with Numana, Inc., to coordinate and host a meal packaging event Wednesday, Feb. 10, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in Memorial Hall. It will take about 200 volunteers per hour to achieve the goal of 250,000 packaged meals in eight hours.

According to Numana’s Web site (, “the [Kansas] response … to the food supply needs of Haiti since the earthquake has been astounding. We have packaged and airlifted over 2 million meals.” An event planned for Wichita State University Feb. 5-7 should make it 3 million and the Bethel College community would like to add a quarter million more.

The food packages have been carefully formulated to sustain malnourished people. Each package, the contents of which is meant to be mixed with hot water, can feed six people and includes soy protein, rice, freeze-dried vegetables and a 21-vitamin-blend powder. With the help of trained facilitators, volunteers assemble the meal ingredients and package them so they can be shipped and stored safely.

In the summer of 2008, Rick McNary, Potwin – a Bethel graduate, whose son Andrew is now a sophomore at Bethel – founded Numana, Inc., an international hunger relief organization with the mission of empowering people to save the starving. He now serves as Numana president and CEO.

McNary will give a presentation titled “Give Yourself to the Poor” in a Bethel College convocation, Friday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium.

Dale Schrag, Bethel campus pastor, pointed out that one of the college’s four central values, as expressed in its mission statement, is “an ethic of service that deems concern for the powerless to be intrinsic to the Christian gospel. This is an excellent opportunity for Bethel students, and others, to express concern for the powerless in a concrete and visible way.”

Anyone able to give at least an hour of time can come to Memorial Hall at their convenience between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Feb. 10. For more information, call 316-284-5356 or 316-284-5247 or e-mail.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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