Feed My Starving Children fights hunger, one meal at a time

By Robert Baird

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending child hunger around the world, one pre-packed meal at a time.

FMSC hosts events throughout the nation at churches and schools where the community will get together and create meal packages in an assembly-line fashion, then load the meals up to be shipped off to children in developing areas.

Christ Community Church, 1600 E. Lincoln Highway, hosted its own yearly FMSC event last week. There will be another event from Nov. 15 to 18 at two locations in Sycamore, the Cornerstone Christian Academy, 355 N. Cross St., and The Suter Company, 1015 W. Bethany Road, where 3,700 volunteers will pack 750,000 meals in four days. The event still need volunteers and simple donations are always appreciated.

“Volunteers pack three scientifically-developed meal formulas, and then we donate those meals to more than 70 independent non-governmental agencies working toward community development in 50 nations worldwide,” said Holly Donato, FMSC national marketing director.

FMSC was founded 25 years ago by a Minnesota businessman after he saw the world hunger problem first-hand in Honduras on a mission trip. Since its founding, the organization has had 99.6 percent of meals arrive securely.

“We have experienced 66 percent growth year over year for seven straight years and maintained Charity Navigator’s four-star rating just as long, which places us in the top 2 percent of charities nationally for trustworthiness with donor dollars,” Donato said. “Our vision is to continue growing, and in fact to double in size over the next two years by opening packing sites and holding more mobile-packing events across the U.S.”

Every day, 18,000 children die of starvation worldwide, while each pre-packed meal costs just 22 cents to produce. The FMSC distribution committee receives food aid applications daily, and then determines which applicants need food the most. Food is then allocated accordingly.

“My whole family helps out at least once a year to pack meals at our church and others around it,” said FMSC veteran Matthew Worst.

FMSC is funded primarily by individual donations, along with donations from churches and other foundations and corporations. It is not affiliated with any other feeding businesses, but the organization is partnered with several Christian relief organizations worldwide. About 92 percent of all donations go directly to the food program, while about 7 percent goes toward fundraising, administration and overhead.

FMSC purchases all of the raw ingredients for the meals, including soy, rice, vegetables and a vitamin and mineral vegetarian chicken flavoring mix. The food has been designed by food scientists at Cargill and General Mills to meet the nutritional needs of malnourished 4- to 8-year-old children.

“It’s extremely fast-paced,” said FMSC veteran Zoe Worst,. “But the end result is so rewarding, seeing the amount of meals that you help make.”

Every meal has 20 different vitamins and minerals crucial to a child’s daily nutritional needs, according to FMSC’s website, www.fmsc.org.

Though FMSC is a Christian organization, people of every faith are encouraged to help. To sign up for the upcoming meal packing session in Sycamore, visit the FMSC website and register online.