Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We Done Some Good

Yesterday, Kathryn and I joined about 40 other friends from school for our second annual summer service project at Feed My Starving Children. In case you decide not to click over there, I'll tell you that this organization does just what it says, all through volunteers, it prepares, packages and ships nutritionally healthy meals to children throughout the world.
After a brief overview you arrive at your workstation and quickly decide who will do which tasks. There are scoopers, and weighers and sealers and packers, and plastic bag holders (I suck at that job!) Our team decided to rotate jobs every once in a while to keep things fresh! Only grown-ups can work the sealer. I was awesome at that job!

Once your bag is on the funnel, in goes: one scoop of vegetarian chicken flavoring and one scoop of dehydrated vegetables. We were able to recognize broccoli and something red in the vegetables.

After that comes a coffee cup scoop of soy nuggets and a coffee cup scoop of rice. I also rocked in the soy and rice scooping. The younger girls had a rough time with the handles on the cups and their knuckles.

From there, the package gets weighed (380 - 400 grams). When 36 packets are completed, they go into a box . . . in a very.specific.order. Kathryn did that job for the longest period of time as she was the only one who could be counted on to remember the "very.specific.order".

We occupied 14 of 16 available the packaging stations for 1 1/2 hours.

If you were an overflow person, you got assigned to putting labels on the bags. Not as much fun, but you get to sit.

Each package of food makes 6 meals. Our pod packed 14 boxes. That's 504 packages of food, or 3024 meals. In total, our group packed 61 boxes for a total of 13,176 meals. This will feed 36 children for 1 year. The cost to FMSC of the ingredients for this amount of food is $2240.

I love this event for so many reasons but primarily because it gives the children a chance to "do" something; to get their hands dirty (so to speak). They know that each package they prepare, seal and pack will be going somewhere so far away, to someone who desperately needs it. Even the really young kids can grasp this concept. Sometime when the boxes are packed on the pallet, there is an opportunity to write messages or draw pictures on the outside of the boxes. The little ones always write the best messages. We didn't get a chance to do that this time because the boxes were being readied for shipment at that moment. We we did get to bless the boxes before their long journey. I heard one little one say what must be her family's dinnertime blessing, of "Grace" over the boxes. And me without my Kleenex.