BELLEVILLE - Coordinators of the Central Pennsylvania World Hunger Association are gearing up for their 39th annual meat canning project and asking area residents to help.
Each year, the association provides a canning venue for the Mennonite Central Committee mobile meat canner. The cannery travels more than 9,000 miles across the United States and Canada annually, preserving meat for use in humanitarian outreach all over the world, according to the committee website.
According to the site, more than 1 million pounds of turkey, beef, chicken and pork were produced overall during the 2011-2012 canning season.
Rick Esh, Central Pennsylvania World Hunger Association secretary, said the CPWHA hopes to can 30,000 pounds of turkey locally this February. The cost of reaching that goal is nearly $60,000, he said.
"We don't have enough money yet," Esh said. "(Canning is) expensive, but it's a good purpose."
After processing, the meat is incubated and held to confirm safety before being shipped around the world to those in need, the website states. But Esh said 10 percent of the meat produced locally stays in the tri-county area.
"It's not only worldwide. It's locally too," he explained.
The annual canning event is slated for Feb. 11 to 14 at East Derry Fire Company in Lewistown. Though physical labor will be appreciated closer to the event, financial support is needed now to be able to order the meat and begin the project. At a kickoff meeting held Oct. 25 at Maple Grove Mennonite Church, treasurer Brent King reported that the association has only $15,650 in its account so far this year.
Donations can be sent to the ministry at Central Pennsylvania World Hunger Association, P.O. Box 76, Belleville, PA 17004.
"There's always bills that need to be paid as far as cans, shipping," Esh said.
Therefore, donations are received all year long and will either contribute to the current year's mission or be saved for start-up costs for the next canning season, Esh said.