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FMSC staff shouted, “Table 1, are you ready?!” 91 people stood poised, muscles tense and ready for action. The room buzzed with restrained excitement.
“Table 2, are you ready?!” Teams were eager to begin. This was the first competitive packing session of its kind at FMSC. Some had worked for more than a month to raise money, design team shirts and strategically plan their positions at the packing table.
“Table 3, are you ready?! Table 4?!”
The murmuring chatter rose to a dull roar. “Table 5, Table 6, ARE YOU READY?!”
Feet shuffled. Hands twitched. Volunteers leaned forward, on the edge of their toes.
A loud yell rose from the crowd of volunteers as they rushed into action—packing furiously. This was the Food Heroes Invitational and each team wanted to win. The fact is, each and every one of them were already heroes. Because of what they did, so many hungry little ones, families and God’s kids, would get to eat and live.
On Thursday, May 22, 2014, the Coon Rapids site hosted its first ever competitive packing session called the “Food Heroes Invitational.” The vision: volunteers are excited to do their best to feed God’s children, are often motivated best by goals and would jump at the chance to challenge the record number of meals packed and money raised.
Senior Team Leader Adam Hanson, Team Leaders Frank Wandzel, Karolina Pien and Sarah Laulunen, and Site Supervisor Lisa Ellis oversaw the event.
“This would not have happened without the ‘heroes’ who are always so fired up about feeding God’s kids,” said Adam.
Overall, 4 teams competed. Rules included a -6 bag penalty for starting before the “go signal,” measuring spills (after 400 grams of waste, every 50 grams was worth -2 penalty packs) and boxes discovered with mis-weighed bags = – 1 entire box.
“The energy in the building was higher than normal that evening and the competitive spirit in each of us was in full force,” said one of the volunteers. “It was an opportunity to shine for God by feeding His children and raising money for future events. The pace was fast, the noise level was high and everywhere you looked volunteers were laughing, smiling and challenging one another to ‘move faster!’”
A hodgepodge of regular volunteers called “Servants of Soy” won 1st place for number of meals packed and total money raised, with a team from Teen Challenge Leadership Institute (TCLI) coming in a close 2nd place.
Another volunteer added, “While it was a ‘competition,’ it brought all of us together for a cause that we all feel passionate about. I definitely felt humbled as I high-fived the other teams and contemplated the impact that we were all making by spending our time at FMSC packing food that would be sent all over the world.”
“It was great fun to be part of this event,” said Frank. “The commitment that many of our volunteers have for the mission of FMSC is richly deep and giving, and their faithfulness is quietly persistent—a great reflection of our Father toward us!”
- Amount raised: $2,456.84
- Boxes Packed: 154
- Meals Produced: 33,254
- Kids Fed for a Year: 91
The first Food Heroes packing night was a great success!
To sign up to pack meals this summer, please visit fmsc.org/volunteer.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14
In the tiny country of Swaziland, where unemployment is rampant and food is scarce, a father and mother desperately seek to provide for their children. Nine pairs of brown eyes look to their parents anxiously, each child’s stomach growling as they wonder when they will receive their next meal. The youngest baby is sick and needs food quickly.
With no one else to turn to and no help in sight, the father leaves in search of food. He is promptly arrested for stealing and thrown in jail for ten years. Just weeks later, the mother is also arrested as she tries to steal food and basic items in an attempt to ensure the survival of her children—she finds herself staring at a three-year prison sentence.
Before serving out her prison term, the mother was placed in the hospital due to the severe malnourishment of her newborn baby. That’s where our partner, Heart for Africa, met her—and she pleaded with them to help her eight children who were now left alone to fend for themselves.
Frightened and starving, these children were barely surviving. A filthy mattress was their only place to sleep. They attempted to cook grass in a dirty black pot over a poorly-lit fire in the middle of a dusty old building.
“There are approximately 15,000 orphan-headed households in Swaziland.” – Heart for Africa
Heart for Africa began bringing MannaPack™ meals to the orphaned household, and a neighbor helped cook the food for the children. As a direct result of your faithful giving, these beautiful children now receive meals consistently. Their grandmother, who left the home because she had no way to provide for her grandchildren and couldn’t bear to watch them starve, has returned. Now the kids have someone to care for them and nutritious food to help them grow healthy and strong. This is amazing!
On the first return visit to the orphaned household, it was discovered that 14 children now live there. Other children who were also living without parents had drifted to a reliable source of food.
Children like these are the reason Feed My Starving Children exists. They are desperate and without hope, but your care and intentional giving literally hands them hope in the form of a simple nutritious meal. You bring them immense encouragement, shine the great love of Jesus and show them they are not forgotten.
To give, visit fmsc.org/donate.
Our fans never cease to amaze us. Every week, we hear their amazing stories of creativity and generosity. Here are a ten recent fundraising projects by our incredible supporters.
When Lilly was 8, she heard about the massive earthquake in Haiti (2010). She designed a beautiful card to fundraise for FMSC.
Lilly is now 12 and continues to faithfully bring donations into FMSC along with her sisters Catherine, Grace, and Lucy. In 2012, the family adopted Lucy from Haiti, where she survived eating Feed My Starving Children meals!
(Left) Newlyweds Janessa and Michael asked for donations to FMSC instead of wedding gifts. Their generosity raised $1,731. Thanks and congrats!
(Right) Jordan and Laura have never packed a meal at FMSC. They heard about us from a friend & raised $20 at their lemonade stand.
Moriah & Emily (both FMSC employees) ran Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. They raised $1,437 for FMSC!
Tyler let the youth group kids at his church decide how he would shave his beard. They raised $4,436 that went towards their MobilePack event in Long Lake, MN. Tyler told us, “Kids loved it, my fiancé not so much. So proud of our youth and so pleased we can make a difference in God’s world!”
Jake and his friend made some paintings using a leaf blower. They sold their art in a coffee shop (The Bru House) and raised $350 for FMSC.
Aaliyah & Madison raised $19.65 selling rocks (yes rocks) to their neighbors. For their birthdays in August, both girls will pack meals for their first time.
Evan turned 8 this year and instead of presents, he asked for donations to FMSC. The birthday party went rock climbing and gave $179. His mom Teresa told us, “I am so amazed at his big heart and his thoughtfulness.”
3 preteens put on a neighborhood vacation Bible school. After sharing about FMSC, they took offerings each day and collected $280 (mostly in coins).
Everyone can make a difference. Thanks to all our amazing friends!
FMSC loves Texas! These upcoming events need more volunteers, so if you have friends or family in Texas, please spread the word.
►Houston, TX – 1.25 million meals (August 1-2)
►Dallas, TX – 1 million meals (August 14-17)
►San Antonio, TX – 4 million meals (September 24-28)
We love other states too! Visit our MobilePack events page to see if we’re coming to a city near you.
Meet Paul. He is 17 years old and lives with his grandmother and three siblings in a small home in Rakai, Uganda. After losing his father to AIDS, Paul had to begin earning an income to pay his own school fees and support his family. His job became walking several miles each morning to the closest well to fetch water for various people in his village. After a while, piped water was brought to Paul’s village and his services were no longer needed by his neighbors.
Paul approached FMSC’s food partner, the Rakai Orphans Development Initiative (RODI), to see if he could restore his income by utilizing another one of his skills: making soccer balls! Growing up, Paul had perfected his skill at creating soccer balls out of dried banana leaves in order to play football with his friends.
Once the FMSC MarketPlace heard his story, it didn’t take long to make our first purchase to support his livelihood. Since then, FMSC has purchased 880 soccer balls from Paul and his 8 friends who he has now brought alongside him to be a part of his business venture. The boys are able to pay school fees and pay for their uniforms with the income made from the soccer balls.
Paul is very bright, disciplined and works hard to earn top scores in school. The RODI staff believes Paul will be a future leader in the community. Paul is a resourceful young man who loves school and soccer. He would like to be a doctor when he grows up.