Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Feeding mission teams

Most of you that work regularly with high schoolers know that they can eat and eat and eat. One of the finer details I concentrate on with student mission teams is the detail of food. Food is one of those background details. When the food is great or even just enough, no one notices. If the food is terrible or kids are hungry, you will hear about it.

The food situation must depend on the context of your mission team. If you are overseas, kids might go hungry and that is the fact of life in that culture. It can, of course, be a great learning experience. I still remember the cooked chicken feet from my time in the Dominican Republic. How thankful I was when I came home, and yet I still remember those images fondly.

I also remember hearing about a mission team working in Africa that would routinely throw away extra food every day. They couldn't give it to the local people because that would create an unhealthy dependency, yet they couldn't eat it all either. It seems to me that their students missed a great opportunity to engage the local culture in the medium of food. I'm not sure, but I wonder how much food they ate was African, not to mention the fact it seems like they were fat and happy on a continent not known for having plenty of food. Our intention and implementation of being learners of the culture is extremely important.

As I was prepping for food for The Black Hole Experience, I thought about some principles of food I try to follow for trips in the US:
- If you can, plan on almost 4 meals a day. Kids will eat and eat and eat. Their metabolisms run faster, they burn it quicker.
- Late night snack is the 4th meal.
- Some kids are picky. Just let them deal with it themselves. When they get hungry enough, they will eat.
- Food is an extension of your efforts in leading and shepherding them. Taking care of food, whether you are doing it yourself or finding someone to do it, is part of your job as a leader.
- Don't provide just junk food. Cookies and brownies aren't going to cut it. Look to provide some fresh fruit, granola bars, peanuts, food that will burn slower and give off energy.
- Have kids bring their own water bottle.
- Buy in bulk. It is a wise way to spend the money that isn't yours.

Breakfast and snacks for the BHE. Cereal, granola bars, peanut packs, OJ boxes, chex mix, chips, muffin mixes.

No comments:

Post a Comment