- It's no surprise that eating is important, but have you seen it transform someone? This is dramatic: http://t.co/xXun4B6Slr 13 hours ago
- RT @blakedawg7: We are so happy we packed 255,672 meals today! 😜👍 @brittanyoaks breezyanne7 @fmsc_org journeymb… http://t.co/OuEWJlnbTA 1 day ago
- RT @BreanneOaks: Lookin like lunch ladies! @brittanyoaks @blakedawg7 @fmsc_org journeymb #journeyoffaith #thumbsup… http://t.co/6DnJuOk8PW 1 day ago
- Check out all the MobilePack events coming up: http://t.co/9aEbamIFa7 1 day ago
- RT @sevenly: We just got back from a @fmsc_org mobile meal packing event. What do you think... don't we look great in hairnets? http://t.co… 2 days ago
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Getting Meals from A to B
Matt Muraski is FMSC’s Director of International Programs. Working closely with all our distribution partners, Matt navigates the complicated worlds of shipping, development, and sustainability.
How a box of food gets from “A” (Feed My Starving Children) to “B” (place of consumption), is always a fascinating thing. To become an approved partner of FMSC, an organization has to fill out a detailed application, furnish a reference, answer extensive follow-up questions and be reviewed and approved by our Distribution Committee. After the approval process, they can receive one, and only one, container (just over 272,000 meals). That container must be delivered successfully. After reporting safe transit and initial distribution success, the partner becomes “Approved” and can receive additional shipments.
It might seem like a lot of work for both FMSC and our partners. It is, but it’s necessary to ensure that food donations arrive at intended destinations. As a container is shipped, responsibility is passed from FMSC to one or more domestic trucking companies, often a rail company, an ocean freight company, through customs clearance to a local trucking company to the partner’s storage facility, and finally local delivery (via truck, car, mule, bike, boat, or the top of someone’s head), to the those in need. In the commercial world this process is known as the “chain of custody.”
Why am I telling you all of this? It’s a complicated thing, getting that box from “A” to “B”. Often, our approved partners further distribute food to other organizations we don’t know about ahead of time. That’s where the “chain of trust” comes in. We trust our approved partners are holding the recipient organizations, churches, pastors, and village leaders to the same high standards we hold them to. In their constantly changing environments, we trust the Holy Spirit is leading them to discern where to give the food. And because our partners are generous, our food sometimes reaches even farther than we intended.
Recently, while visiting partners in Kenya, we were introduced to Ibrahim Omondi. We met with Ibrahim to seek his help in clearing containers in Kenya – one of the most difficult and expensive places to ship a container. It is also a strategic place in that it serves as an access point to refugee camps and countries such as South Sudan and Somalia. Ibrahim invited us to his house for this meeting. He and his wife graciously invited our party of five to have a meal with them as we talked. During our conversation we discovered they had actually delivered FMSC food to the Dadaab (Kenya) refugee camp, said to be the largest in the world. Last year, Dadaab made international news, as thousands of starving Somalis fled there to escape famine. Even this past week, news from Kenya reports the camp is facing food aid and financial shortages.
We were gratified to hear this. Until this meeting, we thought we had only been able to get food as far as Garissa, Kenya, just outside the camp. We were moved by pictures of the delivery to Dadaab. We all, including our hosts, shared a priceless moment of satisfaction. Our food had reached the most desperate place in the world.
There is another chain of custody – the most reliable one. It is the “Spiritual Chain of Custody.” I firmly believe the Holy Spirit takes over on that final delivery leg, in some of the most difficult instances, directing boxes to places we can’t get to, fulfilling His purpose in His time. We do our part and He honors that by taking the boxes to the exact spot where His compassion is needed.
So thank you all for doing your part with every volunteer packing shift, donation, and MobilePack event. It’s all part of building the Kingdom. God is happy with your commitment and honors it by protecting the chain from “A” to “Eternity.”