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Pinecrest Academy volunteers help fight hunger

SOUTH FORSYTH -- Donning blue hair nets, Pinecrest Academy students, families, faculty and staff recently spent one Sunday afternoon arm-deep in rice and grains.

With nearly 800 million undernourished people worldwide, Feed My Starving Children, or FMSC, attempts to combat child hunger, and more than 750 Pinecrest-affiliated volunteers joined the cause at the organization’s MobilePack event, which was held Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Cobb Galleria.

“We were pleased to learn that our efforts will feed 585 children for a year,” said Anne Rice, Pinecrest’s Feed My Starving Children parent coordinator. “That would be like feeding over half of our students for a year.”

FMSC offers various events throughout the year, where volunteers hand-pack meals that are specifically formulated for malnourished children.

Meals have reached nearly 70 countries worldwide, and the Pinecrest-packed boxes are scheduled to be sent to Haiti and Nicaragua – two areas where the school offers missionary work.

The nonprofit had more than a million volunteers last year nationwide – 246 MobilePack events were held to date this year.

Though Pinecrest volunteers only spend two hours at the Galleria, they packed 990 meal boxes, which is about 213,840 meals, according to a news release.

The school has just more than 800 students – 700 of whom organizers Rice and Kathleen Nichols had initially hoped to sign up.

They knew their goal was lofty, however, and they said they were amazed when they saw they had more than 750 volunteers.

At the event, the Pinecrest team wore spirit gear, filling the packing hall with the private K-12 Catholic school’s colors of green and gold.

“Feed My Starving Children is unique in that everyone ages 5 and up can participate together,” said Lisa Stueckemann, FMSC’s development advisor. “The faculty and staff did a fantastic job getting the entire Pinecrest community involved. The response was tremendous.”

In addition to packing food boxes, Pinecrest students held contests in weeks prior to see who could raise the most money for FMSC.

Lower School students completed chores at home and practiced good behavior to earn quarters to fill M&M candy tubes, while middle school students competed in a ‘Coin Wars’ initiative.

Parents also dropped off checks and made online donations on behalf of Pinecrest, and to date, more than $9,000 has been raised.

Pinecrest’s president, Fr. David Steffy, LC served with the families at the event.

“Pinecrest was humbled to not only provide volunteers, but to also spiritually and financially contribute to the relief effort of Feed My Starving Children,” he said. “For this privilege, we are grateful.”