Willow Creek Community Church has included a Seed Packing Opportunity into their Spring event called Celebration of Hope for the past 7 years. Celebration of Hope is a 3-week series aimed at increasing awareness on global issues, mainly in underdeveloped areas in Africa. Booths from organizations such as Compassion International and International Justice Mission highlight such issues as child sex-trafficking, children’s access to education and schools, benefits of access to clean water, transportation, market and money issues, and environmental issues. Observers are inspired by interviews of global leaders who are seeking change, and have the opportunity to make a difference by buying a family a goat or chicken farm, paying for the planting of trees, purchasing fair trade items, and much more. Participants in the 5K run/walk increase awareness and make donations to particular causes. This year’s cause is refugees. And lastly, everyone is invited to create seed packs that will be distributed to families so they can grow beautiful gardens that will feed their community and provide for the trade of other goods.
This year’s goal was to pack 1 million seed packs. One scoop of seeds was to be put into a seed pack. Then 5 seed packs were grouped together and bagged. Overall, 154,000 families will receive the seed packs and can start their own garden.
Participants in various time slots pack different seeds. On April 29th, from 7 P.M. until 9:30 P.M., the room I was in was packing kale seeds. There were 24 groups of 15-20 people in the room, and the goal for the entire room was to pack 90 boxes. I heard that each box holds about 300 baggies of 5 packs, however I’m not sure that that is accurate as my job was not the counter.
There were four jobs you could do. The packers scooped the seeds into the packs and sealed them. The runners took groups of 5 packs and gave them to the baggers. The baggers put the 5 packs into plastic bags and sealed those. And the counters took rows of 30 and placed them in the box, keeping count of how many were in the box. When a box was completed, everyone in your group cheered. For the past 5 years, I have always chosen the job of bagger. I am competitive and I bag very fast. For every one bag the runners would give to the other baggers, they would give me two or three and I more than kept up. I find a lot of pleasure in getting as many done as I can because of the cause.
As stated previously, the goal for the room was to pack 90 boxes. My group was on their way to packing our 5th box at 9:30 P.M. when the announcers invited us to stay if we’d like, and to try to exceed the goal and beat the record that this time slot had accomplished last year, which was 101 boxes. Most of my group stayed, even one woman who had been packing seeds since 8 A.M. that morning and was going to do it all day again on Sunday. We cracked down and with that last half hour, we completed 109 boxes overall!
These seed packs make a difference in the environment of these countries, as it increases food production and soil quality, but they also make a large economic difference and most important to me, they make a difference for individuals. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this event every year and to do God’s work in this way. I want to invite everyone to be aware of such global issues and to find a way to make a difference.