A Christian charity that provides meals for malnourished children around the world plans to open a preparation center in Libertyville.
The proposed Feed My Starving Children meal-packing center on the 700 block of East Park Avenue would be the Minnesota group's third in the Chicago area. It already has a full-time facility in Aurora and a part-time facility in Schaumburg.
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The group provides 133 million dry meals a year for missions and humanitarian agencies in 70 countries. The meals are funded by donors and put together by volunteers.
Libertyville is a logical place for the group to expand because a lot of the group's volunteers come from the area, among other reasons, Feed My Children CEO Mark Crea said.
"It has been a great source of volunteers," he said.
The group hopes to open the 18,000-square foot center in now-vacant space in November. Whether it meets the goal depends on the success of a fundraising campaign that began late last year, officials said.
The group hopes to raise $1.55 million to open the Libertyville center and operate it full-time and to turn the Schaumburg facility into a full-time operation.
The group needs a special village permit for food preparation to operate in Libertyville. The town's plan commission will consider the matter in July, and the village board will have final say.
In addition to the Chicago-area facilities, the group has facilities in Minnesota and Arizona. It also runs mobile packing events across the U.S., including many here.
An estimated 115,000 volunteers are expected to produce more than 30 million meals annually at the Libertyville site alone, Crea said.
"That's just a tremendous opportunity," Crea said.
Libertyville Economic Development Coordinator Heather Rowe said officials are thrilled about the charity's plans.
"Their organization provides a tremendous service to the international community," Rowe said. "We believe they will be welcomed in our community, as many of our residents have been volunteer food packers at their events in the past."
Feed My Starving Children will need volunteers at the Libertyville center once it opens. Adults or families with kids at least 5 years old can participate.
To volunteer at the Schaumburg or Aurora, go to fmsc.org and click on the link for volunteer registration.
• Daily Herald staff writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.