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Cumberland Valley Relief Center volunteers can meat to prepare for crisis

Humanitarian organization is focusing its latest efforts to relieve suffering in Syria

March 07, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Sandra Koogler stirs a vat of turkey meat during Wednesday's annual meat canning process at the Cumberland Valley Relief Center in Chambersburg, Pa.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — It’s a given that when there’s a conflict in the world, a group of people in Franklin County, Pa., is rallying to support those in need.

The Cumberland Valley Relief Center, the local humanitarian organization at 4225 Molly Pitcher Highway, comes in after a civil conflict, war or natural disaster to provide humanitarian aid and build peace.

The relief center, in conjunction with the Mennonite Central Committee, is focusing its latest efforts on the ongoing violence in Syria and preparing for a humanitarian crisis in the region.

Typically, the relief center cans 45,000 pounds of turkey meat during one week in March, said Diane Brockman, director of the center.

That fills about 20,000 cans.

But this year, some of the cans of meat will go to Syria, along with relief kits filled with toiletries and other items for the families displaced by war.

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Hundreds of volunteers donned white jackets, and hats before walking into the canning area.

“Some people arrive at 5 in the morning and stay until 9 at night,” Brockman said.

Each day, there are at least 100 volunteers that come to help, she said.

“I think it just shows that people do have the compassion that we don’t always see in the news,” Brockman said. “We always see the bad in the news, and the good kind of gets overlooked — but I see that good coming out of people every day.”

Martha Beery, 18, and her family drove from Virginia to work on the meat canning line.

“I feel it’s a blessing that we can have the health and the strength to help people out that can’t help themselves,” Beery said.

She worked to fill each can with exactly the right amount of meat to weigh between 1.92 and 1.97 pounds.

“I’m happy to do it,” she said. “It makes me feel content (to help someone else).”

Robert Mothershed of Maugansville took off work to help on Wednesday.

“In the course of one day, you can touch the lives of thousands of people around the world,” he said.
He’s helped with the meat canning for about 15 years and loves helping others.

“I have enough. I might not be a millionaire, but I have enough,” Mothershed said. “I don’t have a great amount of money in the savings account anywhere, but the Lord has been faithful. The bills are paid. I’ve got my health, so why not help out?”

He said volunteering is a great way to reach out and help others.

“We can always use the help up here at CVRC because you know it’s going to go to a good cause,” he said.

How to help
For more information or to support the Cumberland Valley Relief Center, call 717-375-2088.

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