A verse from the Bible heads the web page of Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). It reads: “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. (Proverbs 22:9)
Thanks to FMSC’s unique meal pack, the generosity of many goes a long way towards feeding the world’s poor. A single pouch of food, specially formulated with a mixture of rice, soy nuggets, vitamins, minerals, dehydrated vegetables and a vegetarian chicken flavoring provides one meal for one day for six children, meeting all their nutritional needs, at a cost under 20 cents per child.
Six days per week thousands of volunteers gather in gymnasiums, churches, auditoriums, and warehouses to fill packets of Manna Pack™ a nutrition rich mix designed by scientists at food giants like General Mills, Cargill, Pillsbury and others to feed the world’s poorest children. FMSC volunteers numbered 419,000 in 2009. Their labor, money and resources provided 96.8 million meals to hungry children in 62 countries, distributed through Worldwide Christian and humanitarian relief organizations.
With such a host of caring volunteers—50% of which are under age 18--remarkably 94 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the organization’s food program, mostly toward the purchase of ingredients. Ingredients arrive at FMSC’s four packing site locations—Coon Rapids, Chanhassen, Eagan, MN and Aurora, IL in large waterproof totes made of a flexible, reusable material.
In a recent shipment to Haiti, emptied totes were rolled up like sleeping bags, repackaged in similar totes and included in the shipment. The waterproof material will serve as roofing on makeshift Haitian shelters for the thousands left homeless by their recent earthquake.
With the recent addition of a semi-truck and trailer, the Chanhassen center has become “mobile,” to accommodate volunteer groups “off-site.” Materials are staged, loaded, and delivered to churches, schools, and business, where volunteers have gathered to complete the mixing and packaging process. According to Chanhassen volunteer, Lois Long, “This saves considerable time and expense by eliminating a lot of handling.”
Packaging is a simple assembly line process. Ingredients are carefully measured to a specific formula, placed into small plastic pouches, weighed, hermetically heat sealed, counted, boxed and palletized for shipment. Often, entire families, moms, dads, kids will join with other volunteers, ranging from individuals to teams from area businesses, for a couple hours of “fun” work and satisfaction much of the world does not understand, satisfaction from making a difference in the lives people in need.
If you’d like to learn more about Feed My Starving Children or participate in the packaging process, call 763.504.2919 or visit www.fmsc.org.