The “Craft Impact Cares” program allows each employee the opportunity to give back to their community through volunteer efforts. Employees take one day per quarter – that would ordinarily be a work day – to volunteer for the charity or non-profit of their choosing.
For my first volunteer opportunity, I decided to participate in three, two-hour long sessions packing meals for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). Feed My Starving Children is a Christian non-profit organization that – through the help of volunteer hours and donations – packs and ships meals to all over the world to children and adults impacted by hunger. FMSC meal-packing is a perfect opportunity for volunteers young and old to participate in. In fact, more than half of FMSC volunteers are under the age of 18.
When you walk into the Feed My Starving Children national headquarters in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, you can feel this organization’s global impact right off the bat. The walls are visual reminders of FMSC’s message and overarching goal – fighting world hunger. Images of smiling kids, a wooden map pinpointing all of the countries over the world that FMSC serves, and the words, “Turn Hunger into Hope with Your Own Two Hands” adorn the greeting room walls.
A podium sits at the front of the room along with a chalkboard that lets today’s volunteers know that meals packed for the day will be going to Grenada; an area hugely impacted by devastating Hurricane Irma this past summer.
FMSC volunteers help to manually assemble Mannapacks – packets of dried ingredients that once shipped to their intended destination, are mixed with water to provide much-needed nourishment. A single Mannapack meal costs only 25 cents each to make and the cost of this food is funded solely through donations. Each culturally-neutral Mannapack includes 6-12 meals per pack and is comprised of rice, dehydrated vegetables, a vitamin and mineral mixture, and soy. These meals provide all of the ingredients needed for these children and adults need to nourish their bodies and combat the damage over months or years of being without proper nutrition.
At the end of each session, the FMSC volunteer coordinators meet with the room of each session’s volunteers to review the group’s progress. In a two-hour session, our group of volunteers hand-packed 51 boxes of Mannapacks (11,016 meals) that feeds 30 children for an entire year. I was astounded by these numbers! Having participated in three sessions over the course of a day tripled the impact.
Being able to help so many in such a short amount of time made me feel very grateful. Not to mention, packing the meals is a blast – each volunteer gets a dedicated job on the packing assembly line. I’ll definitely be participating in more FMSC volunteer sessions in 2018!
Feed My Starving Children has locations in Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona and throughout the country at their MobilePack events. If you’re interested in volunteering or donating to FMSC, visit FMSC.org.