USA (MNN) — During the next month, thousands of college students in the U.S. are converging on Panama City Beach, Florida–not just for fun in the sun but to be part of an effort to help Haiti earthquake victims. Through Campus Crusade for Christ's annual Big Break outreach conferences, spring breakers will have a hands-on opportunity to help prepare and pack meals for 1 million Haitian earthquake victims.
More than 2,500 students from across America are expected to attend one of five week-long events between Feb. 28 and April 3. Each outreach event helps students to grow spiritually while having fun and sharing their faith on the beach with the thousands of other students enjoying a more stereotypical spring break.
Campus Crusade for Christ is partnering with Kids Against Hunger and the Global Aid Network (GAiN) to pack and ship the million meals to Haiti. Kids Against Hunger has been responsible for packing more than 120 million meals that have been distributed in 60 countries in the last decade. Global Aid Network, the relief and development arm of Campus Crusade for Christ International, responded immediately to the earthquake distributing more than 1 million pre-positioned meals. In addition to Spring Break efforts, Global Aid Network plans to mobilize 11 additional medical teams in Haiti through its partners during the next 90 days.
"I'm hearing from students around the country who are excited about this opportunity to help ease the suffering in Haiti in a tangible way," says Mark Gauthier, national director of the U.S. Campus Ministry for Campus Crusade for Christ. "I'm thankful for both the students and for the thousands of partners whose generous gifts will help pay for the meals and the shipping costs."
Charles Debtor of Global Aid Network, or GAIN USA, says students will focus on packing a million meals for Haiti and outreach at the same time. "Each afternoon they'll go on the beach and gather unaffiliated students who are just there for a good time on the beach, and bring them to be a part of this food packing project. So, it's Christian students reaching out to other students."
These meals will provide ministry opportunities in Haiti. "With a staff team there, they are networking with their contacts of more than 100 churches throughout Haiti."
The students will combine four ingredients to create a highly-nutritious, vitamin-fortified soy/rice mix. When cooked with six cups of water, each meal-mix swells 14 times in size to form a tasty casserole or porridge. The million meals the students pack will fill six tractor trailer trucks.
Today's college students want to make a difference in the world. After Hurricane Katrina, 17,000 students traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to join Campus Crusade relief projects.
Campus Crusade for Christ International serves in 191 countries. In America, more than 62,000 students at 1,100 campuses are actively involved. Campus Crusade's mission is to build spiritual movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.