Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Packing in a Lot of Food

     With all the Halloween talk about treats and candy, B and I last Sunday thought we could pitch in for a more serious effort to help feed the children. It's an initiative through B's church, which gathered together 424 volunteers at our local university to help pack food that will be sent to poor children in some 80 countries around the world.

     The sponsor of the event was an organization called Feed My Starving Children, which is a Christian non-profit that has been distributing food to poor people since 1987.

Hard at work
     So we gathered in an auditorium, listened to a hymn, heard a prayer, then got the instructions on what to do. B and I headed off to a table where we were packing meals called Manna Packs. Each individually packaged meal basically consists of rice, fortified with soy, dried vegetables and powdered vitamins.

     Each table involved a 15-man operation. Four people ladled in the ingredients; two people funneled them into  plastic bags, two more checked and weighed the ingredients, two more folded the bags, and then one person heat-sealed the bags. Then a crew of four people packed the bags into boxes.

     Other volunteers were bringing in the ingredients and the empty boxes to the tables. Then the filled boxes were picked up by more volunteers and hauled off to a loading dock, where still others were loading the boxes into trucks. Meanwhile, there were a few Feed My Starving Children staff members who set up the production line, coordinated our efforts, and provided instructions, advice and general support.

Not me ... but a proud volunteer
     We were just one three-hour "shift" in a four-day operation that was packing and sending some 1.2 million meals around the world. A few members of B's church had been to Haiti to view one of the receiving ends of the operation -- where the food actually made it into the hands of poor, starving children. It was heartening to see the effects. They had "before" pictures of obviously malnourished children, and "after" pictures of the same children, only a few months later, who had been given a steady diet of these fortified meals.

     Our group packed over 100,000 meals, which sounds like a lot. But actually, it's a drop in the bucket. This would provide a two-week supply. But there was more to come, since another group was following in after us for another shift of packing food.

     Honestly, I don't know where they get the food, or how they process it into the ingredients that we poured into the Manna Packs. But I can tell you, I came away with a better appreciation of the difficult and enormous logistical job it is to meet even some of the needs of crying and starving children around the world.

      And also, after spending most of a morning on a production line, sealing plastic bags, and then ladling soy granules into a funnel, it gives me a better appreciation of the difficulty of working on an assembly line. My wrist was killing me by the end of the day, and B had a sore back. But if it saved even a few lives, it was worth the effort.


Anonymous said...

Terrific job and well worth the effort.

krayolakris said...

Good on you!

DJan said...

Wonderful volunteering you do, Tom. I am so glad whenever I hear about starving children being fed.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! Good for you and B! I do believe in feeding the hungry any way you can. I think most of us would be shocked if we really realized how many people and children go to bed hungry at night. Here in my community, we have a F.I.N.D. food bank that I have volunteered at before. They do amazing work and every month, in our seemingly affluent neighborhood they provide food for approximately 90,000 people. The majority are children but 40% are senior citizens. It is so important to help when we can. ~Kathy

Barbara said...

Good job. There are so many good causes out there and I'm ashamed I have done a little bit more to help.

Janette said...

Amazing organization! Thanks for sharing!

Stephen Hayes said...

Such a worthy cause. I salute you for helping make a better world.

Olga Hebert said...

This sounds like a very worthy endeavor. You do get sore muscles from most volunteer efforts, but you get so much more as well.

Celia said...

Wonderful work. Good for you, looks really well organized and much needed.

Anonymous said...

Great work for a wonderful cause. There is so much need everywhere in the world and too few of us step up to the plate.