A quick description of what they are all about....volunteers come and package dried meals into bags that are sealed and boxed and then crated to be shipped around the world to feed children in need. The meal mixtures consist of a chicken flavored powder with 20 vitamins and minerals, dehydrated vegetables, a textured soy protein and rice. The Chanhassen facility has 8 stations like the ones pictured below. This was taken after the clean up was done. During the packing time it is one busy place!
Here is a closer look. A bag is opened and placed on the bottom of the funnel (in the blue stand). A measured scoop of each of the 4 ingredients is put into the bag in a specific order. Billy was in charge of the dried vegetables. The bag is then weighed (my job tonight) and then sealed (Eric's job tonight). The sealed bags are then counted and put in a box which is whisked away to the back room. There is a friendly competition to see which station can pack up the most boxes....we came in second. :-) Anyway, there were about 85 volunteers there tonight....more than usual. Between us all we packed up 56 boxes in about an hour. I didn't think that 56 boxes sounded like all that much...until the leader started giving us some numbers.
1 box = 36 meal bags. 1 meal bag feeds 6 people. So 56 boxes x 36 bags x 6 meals per bag = 12,096 meals prepared....tonight...in just over an hour. That means 33 children can have a nutritious meal every day for a full year. That's making a real difference....with very little time or effort. Each meal costs 17 cents to produce....the costs are covered strictly by donations. 94% of all donations go directly into the feeding program. Like I said, it's a wonderful organization.
We've volunteered there before through our church. When the earthquake hit Haiti, volunteering at "Feed My Starving Children" was one of my first thoughts of a way that I could help. At church on Sunday they had a special sign-up for volunteers for tonight...how could we say no?
They've placed over a million meals on the ground in Haiti right now. They are hoping to get 3 million more there soon. Distribution has been difficult...but they are working it out. Feed My Starving Children is partners with missionaries around the world who distribute the meals to those that need them most. One missionary that they work with in Haiti is "Love a Child". If you have a minute and want to see what they are doing, check out their website that I linked to their name. The woman there has a blog, "Sherry's Journal".... the pictures after the earthquake are very graphic, but I would say that they are an honest look at the horror that the people are facing right now.
We see the images on TV, we hear of the devastation, we want to do something! Of course donations of money do help, but there is something about donating time and effort and being able to see the results at the end of your shift that makes a person feel that they really can help. Knowing that you've been a part of preparing food for thousands of desperate people, praying over those crates of food before they are shipped....it makes a difference...for them and for the volunteers.