Initially, what is most impressive are the numbers.
- $33,000 raised in less than six months
- 163,728 meals packed
- 448 children who won’t go hungry for one year.
That is what local Sauk Prairie volunteers working with the Christian nonprofit organization Feed My Starving Children achieved last week. Over three days, an organizer said, hundreds of people packed the gymnasium at Grand Avenue Elementary School to put together meal packs that will go overseas to missionaries and non-governmental organizations who will distribute them to starving children in impoverished areas.
Addressing a group of more than 100 volunteers before one of the packing sessions on Friday, Carrie Bishop, a worker with the Twin Cities-based Feed My Starving Children, held up a picture of an emaciated young boy named Omar.
She asked the group what they saw, and children in the audience pointed out that Omar was losing his hair and his ribs were showing.
Omar was 8 years old and weighed 19 pounds.
“You wish you could anything in the world to take care of him,” Bishop said.
Then she showed a picture of him 16 days after he received MannaPacks — a combination of rice, soy nuggets, vitamin-and-nutrient rich flavoring and dehydrated vegetables that can be prepared with boiling water — like the ones the group was about to assemble.
In that picture, Omar was developing a bit of belly, and in the final picture she showed of Omar six months later, he looked like a normal, healthy boy with a full head of hair.
“This Omar has a future,” Bishop said.
Bishop said that 18,000 children die of starvation every day — one every five seconds — but the food provided by Feed My Starving Children can make a difference.
Jackie Bascom helped coordinate the local fundraising that made the Sauk Prairie packing event for Feed My Starving Children possible after seeing a similar presentation. She said most of the fundraising was done through contacting people and securing single donations.
In conjunction with the event, the organizers also hosted a fundraiser for the Sauk Prairie Area Food Pantry collecting 1,299 pounds of non-perishable food and paper products.
Overall, Bascom said the event was a success, and she hopes to do another one soon.
“Everyone left with just this big smile on their faces,” she said. “It was amazing.”