Tradition of service continues

Volunteers work together to dry, label and pack thousands of cans of meat Nov. 10, 2017, at the Milford Fire Hall. The Mennonite Central Committee’s mobile meat cannery will return to Milford Nov. 11 and 12 this year. The annual event allows volunteers to preserve, cook and ship cans of meat that will be distributed around the world to those displaced by natural disasters and others in need of food.

Volunteers are needed to help can meat at the Milford Fire Hall on Monday, Nov. 11, and Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The Mennonite Central Committee’s mobile meat cannery will be on site all day both days.

Volunteers are needed to help package, cook, label and ship cans of meat that will be distributed around the world to those displaced by natural disasters and others in need of food.

According to The Canner Times, a publication of the Mennonite Central Committee, “MCC was formed when representatives of various Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren groups met in July 1920 in Elkhart, Indiana, and pledged to aid hungry people, including Mennonites in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine).

“The first feeding operations began March 16, 1922, at Khortitsa. MCC sent a shipment of 25 tractors and plows to southern Russia in June 1922.

“In the 1940s, MCC, with Brethren and Friends, administered the Civilian Public Service program for conscientious objectors to war. Some food for the CPS camps was home-canned by members of MCC’s supporting churches. Similar food was sent to Europe after World War II, but the glass containers often broke on the journey across the sea and continent.

“Using metal containers instead required special equipment. Rather than buy their own, communities in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in 1945 began transporting the equipment on a wagon between local canning sites. This idea eventually led to construction of the first long-distance mobile cannery in Hesston, Kansas, in 1946.”

The cannery now travels from state to state in a semi-type trailer that will connect to the back side of the Milford Fire Hall. Inside is equipment to can, seal, pressure cook, label and box thousands of cans in two days’ time.

From April 2019 to March 2020, MCC shipped nearly 671,000 cans of meat to countries like Burundi, Canada, North Korea, Ethiopia and Haiti, among others including Puerto Rico and other U.S. locations.

Members of this year’s traveling canning team include Gabriel Eisenbeis of Freeman, South Dakota, Kendall Weaver of Wooster, Ohio, Tristan Pries of Loma Plata, Paraguay, and Nathan Stoltzfus of Narvon, Pennsylvania.

For more information, contact Dave and Deb Welsch at (402) 826-9691.

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