MCC canned meat eases economic hardship in U.S.

Jun 1, 2020 by and

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Meat canned by Mennonite Central Committee has traveled around the world, and now it’s hailing a taxi in New York City.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Mennonite Central Committee U.S. is supporting Anabaptist churches and partner organizations by providing canned meat for distribution to people in crisis.

Cab drivers in Queens contracted by the city and volunteer drivers deliver canned meat and other food to homes of Asian immigrants.

Drivers pick up food from Murray Hill Neighborhood Association Food Pantry, a ministry of Immanuel Community Church.

Families, especially those already economically vulnerable, are experiencing unemployment and economic hardship. The needs of older adults and people of color have become more pronounced with increased food security challenges and a greater risk of contracting the virus in urban areas.

The New York City Council of Mennonite Churches will distribute 1,200 cans of meat and 100 hygiene kits to families and individuals in the Bronx, Upper Manhattan and Queens.

“Those who are undocumented and marginalized at this time are less able to get the resources they need for basic human needs,” said Hyacinth Stevens, MCC East Coast New York program coordinator. “A large portion of this population is now having to leave their places of residence and go into shelters. The traditional jobs that supported their families have been lost.”

Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association program director Alfred Essandoh, executive director Pearl Wang-Herrera and program operations assistant Magaly Hernandez take a break from organizing MCC food boxes and canned meat March 25 at their office in northeast Philadelphia. — Rudi Niessen/MCC

Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association program director Alfred Essandoh, executive director Pearl Wang-Herrera and program operations assistant Magaly Hernandez take a break from organizing MCC food boxes and canned meat March 25 at their office in northeast Philadelphia. — Rudi Niessen/MCC

Urgent needs in U.S.

More than 30,000 people in the U.S. and Canada volunteer their time every year to preserve meat using MCC’s mobile cannery. The majority of the 600,000 cans preserved each year are sent overseas, but some are used in Canada and the U.S.

Because of urgent coronavirus needs, MCC has distributed about 10,000 cans in the U.S., including Fresno County, Calif., Northfork, W.Va., Harlan, Ky., and multiple locations on the East Coast.

In Puerto Rico, MCC canned meat was already positioned to respond to natural disasters.

Anabaptist churches connected with people in need and set up drive-through stations to distribute food boxes containing MCC meat. Volunteers loaded the food directly into vehicles while respecting distancing guidelines.

“People can remember a word of encouragement, but they will never forget when someone fed their hunger,” said Rolando ­Flores-Rentas, MCC East Coast Puerto Rico program coordinator. “. . . They will surely know that someone still thinks about their needs and that they are not abandoned.”

In Pennsylvania, MCC provided canned meat as a resource for Meals on Wheels in Lancaster County and churches in northeast Philadelphia.
Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association distributed 57 boxes of food and 360 cans of meat to Philadelphia churches.

“These resources fill the economic gap vulnerable families experience in these difficult times,” said Chinemelu Oguekwe, MCC East Coast’s Philadelphia program coordinator.

In low-income areas of Tampa, Fla., 1,440 cans of meat were available at College Hill Mennonite Church’s food pantry. Eastern District and Franconia Conference of Mennonite Church USA helped get the food there.

Fresh, affordable and nutritious food is hard to find in the church’s area — described recently as a “food desert” by the University of Southern Florida. The challenges of high unemployment rates are worsened by closure of several food pantries.

On the opposite side of the state, MCC collaborated with churches in Fort Lauderdale to help older adults by distributing 480 cans of meat and 500 hygiene kits using contact-free pick-up and delivery volunteers.


Comments Policy

Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.

About Me

advertisement