It’s hard to believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Most of us, take that for granted at our Thanksgiving table, we’ll have turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, dressing and, well you get the point.
Unfortunately, there still are thousands of people in our country that still suffer from food insecurity, meaning they have no idea where their next meal is coming. And if you think that’s bad, start looking around the world and the insecurity turns to reality and that turns into despair.
Along with people from my company, I spent several hours last week at what’s called a packing facility for Feed My Starving Children.
Challenged by needs he saw on a mission trip to Honduras in 1982, late Minnesota businessman Richard Proudfit felt the calling and God saying, “If you’ve seen my starving children, feed them.” Feed My Starving Children was founded in 1987 and began working to develop an effective and nutritious meal formula.
While we were at their packing facility in Schaumburg, we learned every year, millions of children die from preventable causes, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and undernutrition. Hunger still is causing nearly half of the deaths in children younger than 5 years old. From this data, it is estimated at least 6,200 children die each day from causes related to undernutrition. This is heartbreaking.
So, we worked to fill small bags, that serve as a single-use meal packet, with rice, dehydrated vegetables, soy and vitamins. These packets were then loaded into boxes, sealed, and placed on a pallet for shipping. Once received, the packets will be filled with boiling water and provide enough nutrition to feed a child for one day. Feed My Starving Children has sent food to 108 countries since March 2009.
Our group, along with other volunteers, packed 189 boxes in a two-hour session. That translates to 40,824 meals that will feed 112 children for a year. We weren’t advised where exactly those packets will be heading but in a couple of weeks, we’ll get an email that tells us when the packets arrive in the destination country. The country could be Haiti or an African nation that we’ve never heard of. Either way, kids will be fed.
Closer to home. Feed His Children is a ministry of Crossbridge Community Church. Crossbridge has partnered with several area schools to provide supplemental groceries to families who may be struggling. They have made November “Nutty November” where people are encouraged to bring in peanut butter to help stock shelves so they can continue to keep feeding the children in our communities. Items can be dropped off at the administrative building, Peru campus, or Ottawa campus.
And next Friday brings the return of the annual Freezin’ for a Reezin’ event, a community wide drive that raises money and collects food for the Ottawa Food Pantry. Hosted by WCMY Radio, Freezin’ is a six and a half hour radiothon that will bring awareness to our community while raising much needed funds that will allow the food pantry to purchase food in bulk at a discounted rate. That rate changes from year to year based on availability, but the pantry can stretch that dollar pretty well.
Tomorrow, we will give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives. But, while doing so, we also need to be cognizant of the fact that not everyone has the same blessing we do. My prayer for this Thanksgiving is we can all get involved in the herculean task of ending hunger.
- Jonathan Freeburg is an Ottawa transplant for the past two decades-plus and a regular contributor to 1430 WCMY Radio. He can be reached at email@example.com.