Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer of Service - Kids Against Hunger

It's been a few weeks since I have updated on our summer of service but the lack of writing does not reflect a lack of service!  We are an incredibly blessed family.  We have everything we need and then some.  We never lack food on our table, and always have the ability to eat fresh, local, organic, in season, and variety at every meal.  We all take this for granted and we need to refocus ourselves back to the world around us and remember that not everybody has this.  It's easy to forget about others who may be suffering when you never seem to. 

Consider this…
  • One billion people around the world live in chronic poverty and hunger.
  • 40,000 children die each day from starvation and illnesses related to malnutrition.
  • One-half of all deaths of children under age five are associated with hunger.
  • And yet, the world produces enough food to feed every man, woman and child a healthy diet every day.
So with these facts in mind, we have been busy helping fight hunger near us and far away.

Our church sponsors an awesome program called Kids Against Hunger that was founded right here in the Twin Cities area.  The mission of Kids Against Hunger, a humanitarian food-aid organization, is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and to feed starving children throughout the world.  The organization’s approach to achieving its goal - the eradication of world hunger - includes the packaging of a highly nutritious, vitamin-fortified soy-rice casserole by volunteers at numerous locations within the USA and Canada, and the distribution of those meals to starving children and their families in over 60 countries through partnerships with humanitarian organizations worldwide.  That's where we came in...we participated in a food "pack-a-thon" hosted by our church.

During our packing session we packaged Kids Against Hunger’s specially formulated rice-soy casserole into serving size portions to send to schools in Haiti.  The story behind why our church helps these schools was just heartbreaking.  Can you imagine having to choose to give your child up just so they can survive?  Neither can I.  There are so many families in Haiti that are so poor they cannot adequately feed their children.  When the children are old enough to attend school many parents are faced with a very difficult choice.  Send them to school to learn for their future, but likely end up malnourished or starved, or sell them off as slaves so they can work for food and adequate shelter and survive.  The meals we packed allow these children to be fed while they are at school...and the parents no longer have to choose to give them up for their survival.  Sometimes it is their only meal for the day, but it is enough to sustain them.

I particularly liked this day because the pack-a-thon was on a Saturday afternoon and we were able to serve together as an entire family.  My husband is a busy guy.  It's hard to nail him down sometimes, so he doesn't always get to serve with us because of his schedule!  But he was a trooper for sure on this particular day as his flight home, after being gone for 7 days, literally landed 25 minutes before we started packing food!  It was fun to walk into church and see him waiting for us with a big smile on his face, see the kids jump all over him, and then hop right in to something meaningful together as a family.  Loved it!

The kids thought this was a great activity.  The organizers did a great job making it a fun, casual environment.  They played music for the volunteers and intermittently educated us with facts about hunger and the children in Haiti that we were packing for.  This was also another great teamwork activity where everyone had to work together in a certain way to be efficient, fast, but also careful!

We talked a lot about the food we were packaging while we were working.  Of course being the label reader I am, and teaching the kids to do the same, we were all reading the nutrition labels of the food package.  For the most part we were OK with what we were packing, although, we might have been known to add an extra large scoop of the dehydrated veggies as well...see my partners in crime below...who me??!

We also talked a lot about how blessed we are to be able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables all day long and how that would be hard to only have grains and dehydrated foods as our only meal.  Although, Sarah thought the grains we were packing still smelled good and continued to sniff everything all afternoon.

Having such a large family, we took over an entire packing station as well, which allowed everyone to rotate jobs which helped keep them from getting bored but also learn the entire process of food packaging as well.

There were about 60 volunteers there packing together, including us.  Together we were able to scoop, sort, seal, box, and prepare for shipment just over 20,000 meals in 2 hrs!! 


    Anonymous said...

    You guys are awesome and I love the hats! As always we miss you all and look forward to whenever our families occupy the same space and time. Give my love to all!


    Emily Clingman Johnson said...

    Love, love, love this!!!