BP feeds starving children
"For I was hungry and you gave me food." -- Matthew 25:35
This Bible verse printed on Feed My Starving Children Mobilepack t-shirts symbolized a community-wide effort in Blooming Prairie on Friday and Saturday, May 10-11, to provide food for those in need around the world.
First Lutheran Church provided its facilities for this ambitious project, which drew nearly 500 volunteers.
Volunteers worked on five shifts, from 4-6 p.m. and from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday and from 8:30-10:30 a..m., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday.
"I am just amazed at how the community responded to this community effort," said Rev. Mike Walerius, associate pastor at First Lutheran Church.
First Lutheran Church, Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, St. Columbanus Catholic Church and Holy Trinity Catholic Church of Litomysl were represented by their parishioners.
Three Feed My Starving Children Mobilepack staff members, Lucas Nelson, Tess Shoderg and Irene Duguay coordinated the two-day effort.
As volunteers arrived Friday and Saturday, they immediately were greeted by a large semi truck, which featured large images of some of the recipients of FMSC.
Nelson, coordinator for mobile pack projects around the U.S., said volunteers packed over 101,088 meals that filled 468 boxes.
Planners for the two-day event have been working on the project since January.
First Lutheran's Luther Rooms were used for the actual food packaging. Volunteers entered on the east side of the church to register. They then proceeded to the sanctuary where FMSC staff members showed a video and explained how the packing would work. A marketplace was also set up in the church lobby to promote the two-day event.
The packaging stations were manned by 8-10 volunteers of all ages.
"For the mobile pack, we encourage all ages to participate," Nelson said.
With music blaring in the background, volunteers cheered each time they filled a box. Stations also competed to see who could pack the most boxes in a 10-minute period of time.
Each station resembled a smooth oiled assembly line with the young kids injecting the explosive energy that was contagious for those of a more advanced age.
Some of the volunteers had packed food at permanent FMSC sites in Eagan, Coon Rapids and Chanhassen. Nelson said other sites are located in Chicago (3), Richardson, Texas and in Mesa, Ariz.
Each meal pack contains a vitamin blend, soy meal, rice and dehydrated vegetables. Nelson said these meals will feed 280 kids one meal a day for one year.
The food is shipped to many countries around the world including Central America, Africa, Haiti, South America, Asia and Nicaragua. Nelson said most of the food goes to Haiti and Nicaragua.
"The coolest part of this project is to see how God is working in so many communities around the U.S.," Nelson remarked. Nelson's wife Beck also works for FMSC in the marketplace.
At the conclusion of each shift, volunteers were encouraged to meet in the sanctuary where staff members thanked volunteers for recording some stunning packaging numbers. Volunteers also prayed over the food they had just packed.
On their way out of the church, volunteers were offered samples of prepared samples of the FMSC food.