Marathon of meals

— image credit:
Sequim Gazette staff

Feeding the world has rarely been this easy.


Registration for volunteers is open for the first Olympic Peninsula Meal Marathon, an event bringing together about 300 volunteers who package as many as 100,000 meals for orphaned and destitute children.


The event, set for Saturday, Oct. 1, at Port Angeles’ Roosevelt Elementary School, aims to help feed children in three African countries and the Dominican Republic through Children of the Nations, an organization started in Port Angeles in the mid-1990s.


Event organizers say donations are needed to help fund the event, which provides children with meals for as little as 25 cents each.


Prospective volunteers are encouraged to mobilize friends and family members (ages 7 and up) to join the group. Each group of 8-12 volunteers works around a table to package and seal the ingredients (lentils, rice, dehydrated vegetables and chicken-flavored fortified vitamin powder).


The meal packs, sealed in industrial-grade plastic bags, are waterproof and have a shelf life of seven years. Once in-country, cooks in feeding centers customize the meals with traditional flavors and spices, supplementing with meat when available.  


Jobs will be available for volunteers who are not able to stand.


Karen Coles, COTN volunteer coordinator, says this event is a good opportunity to form a group made up of volunteers from many disciplines such as fellow employees, family members, Bible study groups, service groups (Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.) youth groups, school classes, sports teams, neighbors and the like.


Volunteers may register for either the morning (9-11:30 a.m.) or afternoon time block (1-3:30 p.m.), or come and work all day.


Volunteers do not need to be a part of a group to register.

On a mission

Chris and Debbie Clark founded Children of the Nations in 1995.


A fifth-generation missionary raised in Africa by missionary parents, Chris Clark pursued a career with Youth for Christ, where he worked as director for 10 years. Debbie, a teacher for 10 years, also was attuned to children in need.


During a project assignment to Africa in 1995, they met needly orphans and refugee children. The Clarks returned to the United States and searched for an organization or mission agency that would come to the children’s aid. They found none willing to offer help — nor, they noticed, was there an organization whose sole purpose was to provide for the needs of orphans around the world.


The Clarks resigned from YFC to form Children of the Nations, establishing a child sponsorship program.

Formerly based in Port Angeles, the Clarks moved their organization to Silverdale, where they live with their three children.


Children of the Nations is working in the Dominican Republic, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, Haiti, Liberia and the United States.


“By focusing on each most desperate child and their needs, Children of the Nations has built a mission in each country in which we work,” said Chris Clark. “By mobilizing national and international partners a worldwide family has been created around our children.”



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