After leaving a sales position job a few years back, Marilyn Maurella made a list of places that she thought would be a blessing to be a part of. Already active as a volunteer in a homeless ministry at her church in Glen Ellyn, Maurella was encouraged by her pastor to participate in a local MobilePack event for Feed My Starving Children.
"Helping those in need is very dear to my heart, so I thought I'd give it a try," she said.
As it turns out, that event would eventually change Maurella's life. She is now Chicagoland development adviser for Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg.
"I have four kids, and the thought of a mom not being able to provide for her kids breaks my heart. If I can facilitate the fundraising and provisions so a mom doesn't have to hear her child cry themselves to sleep hungry, what better way to earn a living."
Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is a Christian nonprofit that provides nutritionally complete meals for starving, malnourished and hungry people in nearly 70 countries around the world. The prepackaged dry meals -- costing less than a quarter each to make -- are funded and assembled by donor-volunteers in the United States.
FMSC has grown at an annual rate of 76 percent for seven years. In more than 25 years of food assistance, the organization has sent more than 500 million fortified MannaPack meals to the poor and hungry in 70 developing countries. FMSC operates with one of the highest efficiency ratings in the nonprofit sector: 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to feeding programs. Charity Navigator has awarded a 4-star rating to FMSC for seven consecutive years.
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., FMSC has two permanent meal-packing sites in Chicagoland; the one in Aurora has been open since 2008 and the the one in Schaumburg opened in 2010. Last year, Chicagoland volunteers from families, schools, churches, businesses and civic groups packed 32 million meals at these popular sites combined. Groups sometimes wait for six months for an open two-hour packing session.
FMSC has launched a capital fundraising campaign to launch a third site in the northern Chicago suburbs, near Mundelein or Libertyville. The new site would increase annual meal capacity by 33 million in the Chicago area. Across the entire FMSC system last year -- including sites in Minnesota, Arizona, and 177 portable MobilePack events in 30 states -- volunteers produced 133 million meals for Feed My Starving Children.