When Warren accepted the position of Virginia director for Stop Hunger Now in 2006, she felt she’d arrived where she had been called. She has known founder and president Ray Buchanan since he visited her church 25 years ago in support of the Society of St. Andrew, a domestic hunger program he co-founded in Virginia.
“Lee was always interested in leading her congregations to a deeper understanding of hunger,” Buchanan says. When she joined Stop Hunger Now, she “grabbed hold of the challenge and in less than three years has re-established and re-energized our efforts in Virginia in a phenomenal way.”
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Stop Hunger Now gives people a hands-on experience in global ministry. Warren and other organizers set up an assembly line with huge bags of ingredients, including a chicken-flavored rice-soy mixture fortified with 21 essential vitamins and minerals. Wearing baseball caps or hairnets and plastic gloves, volunteers typically package 10,000 of the high-protein meals, each of which costs Stop Hunger Now just 25 cents.
In August 2008, 4,000 college students packaged 1 million meals in one day on the campuses of UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, and East Carolina with help from nine other colleges and universities across the state.
“We called it the University Million Meals Event,” says Warren, “and we’ll be doing it again next August.”
Since June 2006, when donors provided Warren’s office, a warehouse, and a panel truck, she has traveled throughout her home state to get the word out about Stop Hunger Now. In early May, a new Richmond Sharehouse replaced the smaller South Hill location, joining sites in Lynchburg and Norfolk.
The success of the program shows that giving is “not all about writing a check,” she says. During a Sunday in March, more than 250 northern Virginians gathered between worship services and packaged 50,000 meals at church.
These meals are shipped primarily to schools in developing countries.