Feed My Starving Children’s Mission to Eliminate World Hunger

Children in developing countries sometimes go days without eating.

Too hungry to pay attention at school, they lose the opportunity to become educated and break the cycle of poverty.

On a mission to end world hunger and help children reach their full potential, Feed My Starving Children(FMSC) provides nutritious meals for malnourished kids in third-world countries and nation’s recovering from natural disasters. Fully funded by donations, the Christian-based nonprofit has three permanent locations in Illinois: Aurora, Libertyville and Schaumburg, and four more in Arizona and Minnesota.

FMSC started with a 1987 trip to Honduras by founder Dick Proudfit, who saw children there suffering from starvation and felt summoned by a higher-power to feed them. On his first attempt, he shipped Power Bars to them. When he learned that the snack made the kids sick, he asked scientists at Cargill and General Mills to develop a formula to treat malnutrition and its side effects. He labeled the fortified mixture MannaPack, because Manna is a biblical term for “an unexpected gift,” and launched the organization.

Prepared with hot water, the instant meal contains vitamins and minerals, dried vegetables, soy, and rice. FMSC relies on volunteers to package the food in small, plastic, re-sealable bags, during two-hour packing events at its permanent sites and host locations across the country. The volunteer work unites people of all ages, backgrounds and faiths, who often compete for bragging rights for packing the most food. This month, FMSC will package its 1 billionth meal.

A 25-cent contribution feeds a child for one day; $80 provides nourishment for a year, says John Schmelzel, site supervisor for FMSC in Libertyville.

MannaPacks are shipped to about 70 countries by missionary and nonprofit organizations that partner with FMSC. The partners pay for freight and personally deliver the food to children at clinics, malnourishment centers, orphanages and schools. “Nearly 100 percent of the time, food successfully reaches the recipients,” Schmelzel says.

A couple of years ago, the United Nations reported that 18,000 infants and children under the age of 5 were dying every day of starvation and starvation-related causes. Now, that toll has dropped to 6,200, Schmelzel says.  “We don’t take credit. Lots of organizations contribute. It’s a great improvement, but it’s unacceptable to us. We would like to ultimately put ourselves out of business.”

Help FMSC reach its goal by making a donation online or by scheduling a food packing event in your area.  

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