If you read the AFN, you have most likely read about the organization Feed My Starving Children. They are the non-profit group that can package multiple meals for less than the price of a candy bar and, if you donate, you can pack the meals yourself.
The meals then go to underprivileged children in struggling countries throughout the world.
Having been present at several of these packing sessions, of which have involved kids from local classrooms, I have seen that this organization is doing something right. The kids are enjoying what they are doing and I think that is not just because they get to throw food around. They understand, the other kids at least, that what they are doing will actually help someone else. The cup of rice they mix with dried vegetables and seasonings will be a family's meal, and maybe they wouldn't be eating if it wasn't for their effort.
It's also interesting to think about how Tempe has secured, until February 2012 or longer, one of the few permanent packing locations in the country. And a spokeswoman told me that while donations are always accepted, there is a wait list to pack meals that extends until August.
At the Tempe location seven different packing sessions each week have been hosted by the organization, which equated to about 2 million meals over the past year (they are celebrating their one-year anniversary on June 17.) Other permanent locations are open six days a week.
"We could produce 20 million meals each year if we were open the same amount of time," said Janine Skinner, Tempe site supervisor. "I literally have to turn away dozens of people each day because all of our packing sessions are booked."
Skinner said FMSC is looking at a permanent and larger location for Arizona but she said she doesn't know when they would make such a decision.
A local man who spoke to me anonymously said he would match up to $24,000 in donations for the local branch. If the total of $48,000 is raised, that would be the equivalent of about 200,000 meals that would be shipped worldwide. He started his adventure in FMSC when he brought his family to a packing session.
"We found it was absolutely a great way to serve together as a family," he said. "It went directly to help those who have the greatest need. It's a neat feeling to be able to do that."
One of the countries FMSC serves is Haiti. Mr. Anonymous will be traveling there with FMSC in September to distribute meals to the children there.
"My assumption (about the trip) is my heart will be breaking even more when I see it (in person)," he said.
Not many of us have had such an opportunity. But to imagine yourself being there, amidst devastation, and bring food to people who might not eat otherwise if it weren't for you, is inspiring.
I believe that is what brings FMSC the success it has had.
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