Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Feed My Starving Children

Madison and I got to go on a CyberSchool field trip last week to a great organization in Eagan, Minnesota called Feed My Starving Children.  

Anyone can sign up to volunteer.  Our church youth group has gone to Feed My Starving Children several times over the past few years, but this was a first time for Madison and I.  

We started out in the "classroom" where we were educated on the goals of the foundation, what was going into the meal we would be packaging, and exactly how the work would be done.  This kind man explained that the kids getting food, most of them are absolutely starving.  One bag we were about to pack was enough food to make 6 cups of prepared food.  One bag was enough to feed 6 people, each getting one cup of rice/ingredients a day.  He explained that while we might think one cup is not very much, most have been starving so long that their tummies can't actually handle a whole cup of food.  They may only be able to eat 1/3 or 1/2 cup for a while until their stomachs stretch and adjust to having food again.

Each bag got a scoop of vitamins and flavor, a scoop of dehydrated veggies, like potatoes and carrots for color and flavor, a coffee mug of soy for protein, and a coffee mug of rice for carbohydrates.

Everyone gets to wear one of these stylish hair nets.  

The level of organization and thought put into their process is commendable.  We watched a video that showed just what order to put the ingredients in, how to measure properly so that each bag meets the nutritional requirements and is packaged safely, complete with tips and tricks to make each station more efficient.  I am a freak about organizing large group projects and I was super impressed!

Each volunteer had a spot.  Each station could function with 6-10 people.  In addition to the video we watched before coming into the packing room, there were laminated cards everywhere with instructions just in case someone forgot or didn't listen.  Once we started packing, we were a flurry of excitement for an hour.  Little guys were passing quickly through the isles refilling soy and rice constantly.  Our group here worked pretty quickly and we never had the chance to run out of supplies.  

Bags were opened and placed on the funnel, scoops of vitamins, veggies, soy and rice were added.  Each bag was weighed, sealed, then packed by 36 into boxes.  The goal is one box per volunteer by the end of an hour.  We had 90 volunteers that day and we managed to all pack 144 boxes of meals.

I was also amazed to see a table or two of special needs volunteers.  It warmed my heart to see an organization not only ready to accommodate 90 or more unskilled workers, many there for the first time, but also with a plan in place for volunteers with special needs.  They were able to dig in and participate, leaving with a feeling of accomplishment.

So our 144 boxes of packages would provide 30,240 meals to children in the Dominican Republic.  Isn't that great!  They can even tell us exactly where our food will go and when it should get there.  Those packets are enough to feed 83 children for one year.  

The ingredients from our one hour of work cost $6,653, so Feed My Starving Children relies heavily on the kindhearted donations of people around our blessed country.  We are lucky enough to live about 10 minutes from the warehouse, but Feed My Starving Children will come to you, bring all the supplies and equipment necessary for your group to participate in the effort.  They have a minimum amount of money that must be raised before they come, but they will come.  

One sister from our congregation talked about her mom's experience with the organization out in Southern California.  She told a few ladies about it and they all wanted to participate.  They held community fund raisers, raised $150,000 and Feed My Starving Children came to them in Southern California with all the supplies and their stellar organization.  They had a packing event and the members of their community were able to package the food bought with their own money.  Pallets and pallets of food packets were distributed around the world thanks to the work of those good women, their community, and Feed My Starving Children.

There are multiple locations in Minnesota, Illinois, and one location in Mesa, AZ if you just want to schedule a visit.

I just can't say enough good about this group.  This is not a sponsored post either!

These are the bins of soy and rice distributed to each station and refilled constantly throughout the process.

These are the stations, just one row of stations where we worked.  After the work is done, any food that is spilled on the table is scooped into bins and given to a local hog farmer to use as pig feed.  I was super impressed at Feed My Starving Children's attitude toward their donated product.  They respect the donations given to them and go to great lengths to make sure no food is lost.  Not a crumb is wasted.  I was also impressed by motto, that we need to live on less so that others can have a little more.  We are so, so blessed here in America.  There is no end to our wealth.  Imagine all the good that can be done if we all consumed less and gave to organizations such as this.

Following the packing hour, all were invited to participate in a blessing on the food before it was shipped out.  We were given the choice to be there for the blessing or head back to the classroom area for the closing presentation.  

This is where we learned how many boxes we packed and how many children would be fed by our work.  Stories were shared, complete with photos of just a few children fed by the organization.  They come into a village for one year.  This little girl was 3 when they arrived.  She weighed 9 lbs.  Can you believe that!  A 3 yr old that weighs 9 lbs!

After one month she already had meat on her bones and her weight was up to 11 lbs.  You could just see the change in her face.

There is a gift shop next to the classroom where they sell goods from these countries they serve.  All proceeds go to more ingredients for more packets of food.

What a great activity for a field trip.  We met so many different people from all over Minnesota, all gathered together hoping to do a little big of good.  If you are looking for a worthy organization to serve, check out Feed My Starving Children.  They totally impressed me.  Their facility is clean, modest, but organized.  Every employee was anxiously engaged in the cause, kind, friendly, and totally approachable.  I just can't say enough about Feed My Starving Children!

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