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updated: 2/17/2012 3:12 PM

How Feed My Starving Children packs nutritious meals for those in need

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  • Volunteers Alberta Bergeron, left, and Pat Backer, right, both of Naperville, work at putting expiration dates on bags for meals at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora.

       Volunteers Alberta Bergeron, left, and Pat Backer, right, both of Naperville, work at putting expiration dates on bags for meals at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora.
    Photos by Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Volunteer Richard Temple of Aurora gets the boxes ready for the food packets.

       Volunteer Richard Temple of Aurora gets the boxes ready for the food packets.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Students from Burlington Central Middle School work at filling meal packets during a volunteer shift.

       Students from Burlington Central Middle School work at filling meal packets during a volunteer shift.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Soy, left and rice are two of the products going into the meal packets at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora.

       Soy, left and rice are two of the products going into the meal packets at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Warehouse specialist Michelle MacGill secures a pallet of food for shipment.

       Warehouse specialist Michelle MacGill secures a pallet of food for shipment.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

It takes a lot of volunteers to help Feed My Starving Children in Aurora feed hungry children around the world.

Last year, from their six locations in Illinois, Minnesota and Arizona, 515,000 volunteers, over half of them children, helped the Christian nonprofit organization pack and ship food for starving and malnourished children in over 60 countries.

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"It's really amazing to think children are helping children," said Development Advisor Denise Gallina of Naperville. "And we find that they are the most passionate and they are amazing fundraisers." The children do side projects such as lemonade stands to raise money for the organization.

Pat Backer of Naperville volunteers about once a week, usually putting expiration labels on the bags. Both staff and volunteers pack boxes of meal packets and get them ready to be picked up by truck. The pallets of food are driven to Florida and then put on a freighter to Third World countries such as Haiti, Somalia, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Three different formulas of food are packed, specifically designed for the malnourished body, including soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin mineral powder.

"It takes a child from not just being hungry, but to thrive to be healthy. It makes a huge difference in their lives and quite quickly," Gallina said. There are also two potato-based formulas, one for infants and one for the ill.

Last year, 133 million meals were shipped from those six locations, and they hope to increase their production over the next few years to at least 250 million meals.

"We have big growth plans," Gallina said. "And that's by God's grace and by all those folks that come in repeatedly. We have the best volunteers."

To learn more about Feed My Starving Children, which has a location in Schaumburg and offers mobile events, visit website www.fmsc.org.

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