Feed My Starving Children

Seventh-grader Luiza Vara holds a MannaPack bag while fellow Kyrene Altadeña Middle School students fill it with food at Feed My Starving Children in Tempe on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Just as students from Kyrene Altadeña Middle School got into the flow of packing boxes of food this week for the Feed My Starving Children organization, a song came blaring from the back of the warehouse that seemed almost divinely planned.

Listening to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” felt like the turning point during a packing event that brought more than 120 seventh-grader from Ahwatukee to the Christian organization’s Tempe location. Students at the 10 work stations started dancing, singing, and cranking out more boxes ready to be shipped.

In addition to filling the small meal bags with a nutrient-filled combination of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamin mix, the students raised more than $13,000 in about two months for Feed My Starving Children.

“It’s a celebration to come and pack,” said Janine Skinner, development advisor for the organization.

In January, two seventh-grade classes began fundraising through lemonade stands, bake sales, a walk-a-thon, collecting change, and other donations. In the school’s fifth year of working with Feed My Starving Children, language arts teacher Erin Dryanski said this year was close to the most students have raised.

Feed My Starving Children ships the meal packs to nearly 70 countries around the world, targeting starving children. Each package, about the size of a bag of nuts, can feed up to six kids and costs about 22 cents each to produce.

With Altadeña’s contribution this year, an estimated more than 60,000 meals can be delivered.

Student Clare Dement was in charge of placing 18 food packs into boxes and sealing them. Taking a break from her focused work, she smiled and said she was having fun.

“It’s because we get to do it with our friends and we get to help kids around the world,” she said. “And that feels really good.”

Dement raised $125 on her own since her class began collecting money two months ago. Each of the students, according to Skinner, also signed a pledge to commit.

Glancing over at a group of boys refilling each station’s bins of rice and soy as the students started racing each other to get as many boxes out, Skinner said the beauty of the school’s participation is that it’s literally “kids helping kids.”

For more information, visit fmsc.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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