USA (MNN) — People are desperate for humanitarian aid all over the worlde: Syria, the Sahel region of Africa, India, Kenya, Central America. The list could go on for pages.
With the immense need, ministries are in over their heads as they try to respond. It's one thing to send cash, but when aid has to be sent and distributed, the project gets a lot more complicated.
Global Aid Network (GAiN USA) sends dozens of containers of aid across the globe each year. But in order to send those containers, they have to be packed. And in order to pack the items, GAiN needs thousands of volunteers.
So from Monday to Saturday of next week, GAiN will embark on another semi-annual packing extravaganza at their warehouse in Lancaster, PA.
"We will pack basically probably 5-8, maybe 5-10 containers worth of aid for this project alone," says Phil Liller, director of GAiN's distribution center. "We pack aid throughout the year, but these are the big times to bring a lot of people in to pack up the food, the vegetable seeds that we send over, the new and used clothing, the school supplies, medical supplies. Anything that we send, this is a good time to get a good amount of packing done for that."
The packing event is the third weekend of June, and the timing is strategic. Liller notes that most kids are out of school by next week, so a lot more families are able to volunteer together than during their October event.
Families, churches, and individuals from across the country will gather to pack aid and supplies to be shipped to multiple continents.
"A good portion of it will go to Africa. We send to many countries over there: Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe," says Liller. "We've also been sending a lot to the Horn of Africa for the starvation that's been going over there."
Once the containers arrive to their various destinations, the aid becomes a conduit for the Good News of Christ.
"Our distribution system is either through Campus Crusade for Christ (which is now Cru) — people in those countries, or through trusted partner churches. We assure that that distribution that is going out always has the love of God attached to it, and in most cases, a direct spreading of the Gospel," Liller explains.
Volunteers get to be a part of Kingdom building just by coming to pack. And there's room for everyone, no matter how old or young.
"We say ‘4 to 94,'" says Liller. "We have sitting jobs for the older people; we have jobs for the younger kids. Just come on and help us."
There's still time to get involved. If you're near the Lancaster area, make this the first big family event of the summer. Click here for information on how to volunteer for just one day or for the whole week. If you're too far away to help, there are still many ways to get involved with GAiN. Learn all about them here.