Local couple travels the country to fight hunger



Local couple travels the country to fight hunger
AGR03182009A02:Layout 1
1:48 PM
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2—Lewistown, PA
The Sentinel
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Local couple travels the country to fight hunger
Sentinel reporter
[email protected]
MILROY — J. Loren and
Wanda Yoder like to travel. But
they don’t do it to relax; they help
can meat that is shipped around
the world.
Through the Mennonite Central
Committee, which works with
The Central Pennsylvania World
Hunger Association, the Yoders
and other volunteers make trips
around the country to volunteer at
different meat canning sites. The
meat is shipped all over the globe
to areas such as Bosnia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia, Serbia
and the Ukraine. In addition, the
meat is sent to places in the
United States. Some local areas
that receive canned meat are the
Juniata County Food Pantry, both
Mifflin and Juniata County Meals
on Wheels, and the Salvation
Army, according to The Canner
Times, a newsletter by the Mennonite Central Committee.
This is the 62nd season of the
Mennonite Central Committee’s
Mobile Cannery, but only the first
for the Yoders. The tour started in
October 2008 and since then, the
couple has traveled to Ohio,
Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota,
South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, Idaho and Indiana. The tour
will continue until the end of
April. Still on the itinerary are different areas of Pennsylvania,
Ohio, New York and Canada, the
newsletter states.
The meat canning process involves many steps. The meat
comes in 20 to 31 pound bags, inside large containers. First, the
volunteers cut the meat into one
inch cubes, J. Loren explained.
Then, it is put on the canner, or
steam kettle, and is heated at
about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
From there, it is put in cans, J.
Loren said.
“The cans have to be weighed
... approximately two pounds (of
meat) in each can,” he said.
Then the cans go through the
can sealer, and are put into baskets. There are 140 cans in each
Then they go into a retort and
are steam-kettled at about 240 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours
and 10 minutes, J. Loren said.
Then the cans are put into a
cooling tank. After that, labels are
attached. Information on the labels includes the date and location
in which the meat was canned, as
well as the expiration date, he explained.
Then the cans are put into
boxes at 24 cans per box. They
are then stacked and sent to
Akron, where headquarters of the
Mennonite Central Committee is
located, to be shipped around the
world, J. Loren said.
One inspiration for the Yoders
to participate in the tour was
being able to host the Mennonite
Central Committee’s tour leaders
when the tour stopped in their
home town in Belleville, Wanda
“At each location they stay in
homes,” she said about the leaders.
She explained that there are
two tour leaders at a time, and
each leader participates in a two
year term.
“(Hosting the leaders) started
opening doors,” she said. “It’s
been a very rewarding experience.”
J. Loren said one of the main
goals of volunteering at the meat
canning sites is to help needy people all over the world, adding that
some of the meat has been
shipped to Hurricane Katrina victims.
Wanda continued that working
side by side with people is better
than any vacation they could take
“It’s nice to be able to do a mission project in your own area,”
she said about the tour’s local
J. Loren added, “We met so
many wonderful people.”
The Yoders were dairy farmers
in Big Valley before they went
full time with the canner.
Peter Reimer, of Manitoba,
Canada, helps can meat in Milroy, one of the stops of the
Mennonite Central Committee’s mobile cannery. Reimer, a
tour leader, travels with volunteers all over the country to
meat canning sites.
Sentinel photos by
J. Loren and Wanda Yoder, volunteers with the Mennonite Central Committee’s mobile cannery, help
can meat at the Central Pennsylvania World Hunger Association’s meat canning project in Milroy. The
Yoders travel across the country to different meat canning sites to help feed different areas of the
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