Church, school come together for kids in Africa


This holiday season, Center Church along with students, teachers and many parents of Quail Valley Elementary School packaged 20,000 meals that will feed up to 100,000 kids in Malawi, Africa.

When Canyon Lake resident Thor Ramsey, lead pastor of Center Church, met with principal Lilly Pena about how the church could come alongside the school community of Quail Valley Elementary, one of the things Principal Pena mentioned was doing some sort of canned food drive during the holiday season.

“We wanted to give the kids a hands-on experience with a worldwide perspective,” said Pastor Ramsey. “So, we partnered with Children of the Nations, an organization that ships meals to children around the world.”

Every half-hour the students rotated into the all-purpose room in groups of 100. There were approximately ten stations with eight to ten students each. Each student was responsible for filling a bag with a particular food item and then two students at the end of the line would seal the bags. The shifts of students filled the bags from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. when the goal of 20,000 bags was reached.

One of the students said to Dinika Sides, a Center Church volunteer, “This is a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be.” Another child said to Pastor Ramsey, “This is better than math class.” There’s already discussion of making this an annual event between the church and the school. “Working side-by-side with the staff of Quail Valley Elementary made one thing really clear — the teachers here really care about their students,” said Pastor Ramsey.

Center Church volunteers, along with teachers and parent volunteers, helped with the event by supervising tables full of children from kindergarten through fifth grade who packaged the meal bags. The volunteers from Center Church included Robert and Jack Grey, Patsy Boruff, Dinika Sides and Paul and Juanita Robles. “We wanted to bless the school community where we happen to meet,” said Pastor Ramsey. “And we were all happy with the outcome. It’s always a good reminder during the holidays to be reminded about how much we have to be thankful for.”