Having just wrapped up a monthlong food drive to restock the shelves of Immanuel Lutheran Church's Good Samaritan Ministries food pantry in Palatine, more than 200 students, teachers and parents from Immanuel Lutheran School decided to take on world hunger by volunteering at the Feed My Starving Children facility in Schaumburg.
There, students assembled MannaPack Rice -- food packets that contain rice, soy, vegetables and a vitamin and mineral vegetarian chicken flavoring mix -- for shipments to Swaziland, Africa, and Colombia, South America.
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Slightly larger than the state of Connecticut, the Kingdom of Swaziland, nestled between South Africa and Mozambique, has the lowest life expectancy in the world, just 31.88 years, and the highest HIV-infection rate (26 percent for adults; more than 50 percent of adults in their 20s), according to United Nations reports. The 1.85 million Swazis are among the world's poorest people.
"We make sure that we take time to talk to our volunteer children so they understand the magnitude of world hunger and malnutrition," said Marilyn Maurella, Chicagoland development adviser for Feed My Starving Children. "It's important the children know that what they are doing is truly saving the lives of children around the world who face starvation every day."
Hunger is a global pandemic affecting more than 1 billion people. Each day, more than 18,000 people die of starvation … one person every 3.5 seconds. Through their efforts, Immanuel Lutheran students assembled a total of 41,040 meals that will feed 111 hungry children in Swaziland and Colombia for an entire year.
Throughout the past 25 years, Feed My Starving Children has amassed an astonishing 99.6 percent delivery rate by establishing a network of trusted distribution partners to ensure the food packets reach the intended recipients.
Each food packet feeds one person for an entire week or a family of six for one day. One meal costs $.22 to produce. To date, Feed My Starving Children has delivered more than 600 million meals to people in nearly 70 countries.
After boxing the food packets, students gathered around the assembled pallets and said a prayer asking God to bless the shipment and to provide a way to reach out to others in Christ. The students learned that the power of many hands working together can make a difference to those in need.
"This is a wonderful experience for our students," said John Mierow, principal of Immanuel Lutheran School in Palatine. "By giving of themselves in such a special way, they are living out Christ's command to love our neighbor."
To learn more about Feed My Starving Children or to register online for a volunteer packing session, visit www.fmsc.org.
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