Students in Minnesota School of Business-Richfield’s (MSB) winter quarter Global Citizenship class recently participated in a service learning project at the Eagan chapter of Feed My Starving Children.
Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit organization that enlists volunteer groups to hand-pack nutritious meals for malnourished children around the world. In 2013, volunteers packaged almost 200 million meals that were shipped to over 70 countries.
After a brief presentation about the mission and work of the charity, the volunteers received instructions on how the packaging room operates (wash your hands, wear your hair net, keep your hands off of your mobile phones, and clean up after yourself!). They then set in to quickly fill, seal and box as many meal packs as they could over two hours.
A spirit of competition, levity and gratitude filled the packing room as various volunteer groups pitted against one another to pack the most boxes while they rocked out to Michael Jackson tunes blasting on the stereo system.
The volunteers quickly refined the system of calibrating proper ingredient proportions (no spilling please!), weighing, sealing, and boxing the correct number of “MannaPack” meals. They also needed to make sure they were resupplied with ingredients and that their full boxes were transported to the shipping dock in a timely manner. The MSB students had fun crafting creative slogans to shout out when a full box was ready for transport.
At the close of the session, volunteers were presented with the final numbers: our collective group successfully packaged 96 boxes of meals, comprising 20,736 servings of food for starving children around the globe.
They also heard a success story of one individual child, Marilyn, who was miraculously transformed from a seriously underweight three year-old in Haiti to a thriving five year-old thanks to Feed My Starving Children meals. Marilyn started eating MannaPack meals when she weighed just 14 pounds. She was able to gain 19 pounds in just 8 months! The volunteers observed a photo of Marilyn at 5 years of age, at a healthy weight and ready to start school.
“That kind of rapid development is just so rare,” said Feed My Starving Children’s Site Supervisor Erin Arndt.
In terms of actual dollars, the volunteers packaged $4561.92 worth of meals. That translates into a year’s worth of meals for 57 hungry children.
Nursing student Paul Moywaywa described his experience this way: “It was very fulfilling. I did something that I didn’t get paid for and it wasn’t for myself or my family. It makes me feel good about myself.”
“It made me want to volunteer more. It actually opened my eyes, knowing what is going on in the world. It made me grateful for the things that I have and the children will be able to eat, gain weight, and get healthier because of our work,” said health care management student Rhomana Tekle. “As a mother, it gave me a new perspective,” she added.
Nursing student Ashley Ries stated, “I thought it was super rewarding at the end to find out how many meals we made: I was amazed. It was a great experience to do with classmates and friends. Everyone should do it!”
Finally, nursing student Kenta May-Lewis said that her takeaway was this: “Even though the problem [to end child hunger] is enormous, my little part of it helped and it was worthwhile. I really enjoyed it! My part (being there for a few hours) inspired me to go back and do more!”
Global Citizenship students: win. Hungry children: win.
For more information on how you can help support Feed My Starving Children’s efforts to end childhood hunger, please go here. If you would like to find a location to volunteer to assemble meal packs, go here.