He Dreamed a Dream
Published in the Orange County Register on July 16, 2013
Several decades ago a retired Proctor and Gamble executive, Lew Lardie, who attended Emmanuel Episcopal Church, had a dream of feeding 1,000,000 hungry people. At the time, the leadership of the church had their doubts, but Lew was a pretty persuasive man and he had a passion for his dream. Together they created a program called Million Meals. The dream went like this…parishioners would be given a plastic container at church and they would save their pocket change for the Million Meals program. Of course checks were gladly accepted as well! Several times a year there would be an ingathering of these coin containers during the Sunday service. In turn, the Outreach Committee at Emmanuel would give grants to various non-profit organizations to be used at the local Food Bank. At the Food Bank, over 40 food manufacturers donate products they can’t sell, primarily because of label changes or because the item is discontinued. These items are gathered at the Food Bank and made available for a small processing fee – 10 cents a pound. Non- profit organizations can get a $1.39 loaf of bread for 2 cents and a $2.39 jar of peanut butter for 10 cents!
Food Bank figures show that food distributed through their program averages about 5 cents a meal. So every $10.00 donated to Million Meals purchases 200 meals for the hungry. Some of the organizations that have been recipients of this program at Emmanuel include Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Services (now known as Pathways of Hope), Fullerton Homeless Shelter, Project Dignity, a program meeting the needs of children living in the motels near Disneyland, and many other programs serving the homeless, the blind, the elderly, the abused, and the developmentally disabled.
Lew was right! His dream has become a reality 9 times over. As of today, Emmanuel has donated 9,132,049 meals and counting. If you would like to be a part of Lew’s dream, you may send a check to Emmanuel Episcopal Church with Million Meals in the memo line, or come by the church office and drop off the pocket change you have collected. It is amazing how fast we can fill a container by just giving up the coins from our pockets each day!