The goal of #41 on the list was to participate in a short-term volunteer opportunity. Not something that took a lot of commitment or time, but still gave me that “I did something good” feeling in my stuomach. The two organizations I was the most interested in were Habitat for Humanity and Feed My Starving Children.
Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit based in the Minneapolis area that is committed to feeding starving children on an global level. Their approach is simple: volunteers hand-pack meals formulated specially for hungry children, and the meals are shipped to nearly 70 countries around the world. I was impressed to discover how efficient they are, with 94% of received donations going to the program. To help manage costs they don’t handle the disbursement of the food but provide it to over 50 charitable partners that service the 70+ countries they want to help (those organizations only pay shipping costs).
Packing the food is easy. It begins with a formula developed by food scientists at Cargill and General Mills, this formula’s intent is to provide the most amount of necessary nutrients while providing a meal that is easy to transport and make. For each MannaPack four ingredients are placed into the bag (vitamin-packed vegetarian chicken flavoring, dehydrated vegatables, soy nuggets, and rice); then each bag is weighed, sealed, and boxed. The basic set up looks just like this:
The commitment is an hour and a half total, with a 15 minute opening and closing and an hour of packing time.
As the end of the hour the 54 volunteers there were able to pack 58 boxes of food. We were told this will feed 32 children for an entire year. I’m sure those 32 children are incredibly grateful for this program. Personally, I really enjoyed the experienced and hope to go back in the near future.