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.