November 3, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.

Hundreds take time to volunteer for FMSC mobile-pack

Hundreds take time to volunteer for FMSC mobile-pack
Hundreds take time to volunteer for FMSC mobile-pack

The entire gymnasium floor at Lakes Free Church in Lindstrom was covered in extra thick rust-colored plastic sheeting to help transform it from a place of frolic; to a food packing production line for the organization Feed My Starving Children.

Stations were set-up inside the church youth center gym to accomodate several hundred volunteers, working approximately two-hour-long shifts last weekend in a mobile packing event. Feed My Starving Children brings its packaging operation to remote sites. Lakes Free Church extended the invitation and Pastor Ric Stanghelle says things went way better than anybody anticipated.

Groups of volunteers took their position at their station and measured ground dried soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables and a powdered chicken product into funnels, filling baggies, "MannaPacks" bound for starving populations all over the world. The Feed My Starving Children organization has the process down to a fine art and not a single movement is wasted. Some people scurried throughout the gymnasium to replenish supplies for each station, others assembled shipping boxes and loaded the semi trailer, some weighed the product and some re-filled bulk food bins. There are tasks for people who need to sit and tasks for young and old.

Volunteers participating in the Lakes Free Church mobile packing event packaged a total of 163,512 meals during two Friday night and three Saturday shifts. Just this local effort supports a distribution of food to feed 448 kids for one year.

Lakes Free Pastor Stanghelle wanted to extend a huge thank you to everybody-- the local churches and volunteers and Scouts-- who participated during the packing and helped get things ready for the event. There were a total of 800 volunteers, Stanghelle reports.

The plan was for 160 people in each of the shifts and it ended up being very close to that. Cash donations continue to be accepted by FMSC year-round, but the funds necessary to support the Lakes Free mobile event look like they'll be on target. The pastor said about $39,000 (24 cents per meal) also is necessary to support meals that were bagged here.

He added that the FMSC organizers told him how pleased they were and how well everything went, saying the volunteers listened well to directions and worked extremely well together.

FMSC, based in Minnesota, was founded over 20 years ago to bring easily cooked, nutritious meals to impoverished or drought striken areas of the world-- places where many government units are not operating. FMSC has a current commitment to deliver five million meals to Kenya, to Somalia and Ethiopia.


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