It was an early Saturday morning in September, and Aubrey, Gage, and Levi were eager to get inside the building. Each of them carried a small plastic baggie filled with money they had saved for this very day. Their mom, dad, and younger brother trailed behind them. This was the 4th year they had come to the Michiana Event Center in Howe, Indiana, to help pack meals for starving children around the world. They were about to join almost 3000 volunteers for a Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event. Running ahead, Six-year-old Levi looked back and yelled, “Come on! We’re here to stop world hunger!”
Once inside, the 3 children easily found the registration table. The table was covered with coin banks and candy tubes filled with quarters, dropped off by other children. With big smiles, the three happily added their treasure to the bounty. Something caught Gage’s attention, and he pointed to a map. “Look, the food we’re going to pack goes to some of the countries we’ve been reading about in school.” As he leaned on the table, his finger traced over Ethiopia, Haiti and Nigeria. “Wow, it says the food goes to over 70 countries. That’s a lot of kids.”
One of registration volunteers handed them white hair nets and said, ‘you’ll need to wear these while you pack the food.” Aubrey took off her ring and stuck it in her pocket, “I don’t want this to drop into the rice.” Giggling, the 3 youngsters put on their nets and skipped off to the orientation room.
Once seated, the volunteers watched a video about a little orphaned boy named Emmanuel. At 2 years old, Emmanuel weighed only 9 pounds. “Ezra looks so much bigger than him!” exclaimed Gage. Hearing his name, Ezra, their energetic 2-year-old brother, scrambled down from Mom’s lap and ran to them. Seeing the difference between the boy on the screen and boy by her feet made Aubrey sad, and she whispered, “we’re here to help you, Emmanuel.”
After a few last minute instructions, the 250 adults and children, scheduled for this 2-hour shift, filed into the packing room. “Look at all these tables,” said Gage, as he entered the large arena filled with 15 packing stations. All the tables were supplied with funnels, scoops, baggies and scales. At the end of each station, lined up in a row, were 4 large boxes. Each box was filled with one of the important food ingredients: rice, soy meal, dried vegetables, and a vitamin/mineral mixture.
As the volunteers took their spots, Aubrey stepped right up to the food scoops, her favorite job from last year. Levi grabbed the station next to her, and chose the rice scoop while Gage headed to the end of the table to help his Dad with boxing.
Upbeat music began to play, and before long, their assembly line was working smoothly. As heads bobbed and toes tapped, baggies were filled with the food, and boxes were packed. At one point, the FMSC Team Leader, Danny, stopped the music and announced, “I hear we have a birthday boy here today.” Gage looked up, suddenly feeling shy. Aubrey pointed, and yelled out, “It’s him. It’s him. He turns 8 today!” As Gage covered his face with both hands with embarrassment, the entire room began to sing Happy Birthday. Danny gave Gage a “high-five” hand clap and said, “Thank you for helping us pack meals on your special day.”
When their shift was finished, and all their boxes were packed, Aubrey, Gage, and Levi cleaned up their station, and followed the rest of the volunteers back to the orientation room. “I think we packed a lot of boxes,” Levi boasted as he scrambled into his seat next to his brother. “Yeah, I think we packed hundreds of boxes,” Gage agreed.
When everyone was seated, a FMSC staff member took the microphone and began quizzing the volunteers: “How many meals do you think you packed?” A boy from high in the bleachers helled, “200!” Another volunteer shouted, “300!” “Oh, you did better than that,” the staffer said, “you packed 355 boxes! That’s over 76,000 meals!”
“Whoa” said Gage, we really did help stop world hunger today.”
At dinner that night, Levi climbed into his chair and set his piggy bank on the table. “I know I was saving for a bike, but I want to give this money to Feed My Starving Children. Kids need to eat more than I need a new bike. When can we pack again?” Dad and Mom exchanged smiles as everyone bowed their head to pray. Dad’s voice shook with emotion as he spoke, “Dear God, thank you for this food we are about to eat…”
Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a Christian non-profit that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. FMSC produces three special MannaPack™ meal formulas developed by food science and nutrition professionals to supplement nutritional needs and reduce problems with malnutrition. Hope begins with nutritious food. FMSC exists to provide this hope in the name of Jesus. For information on an FMSC MobilePack near you, visit http://www.fmsc.org.