Posted by Walter
It was just after 1 p.m. on a Saturday and the clock was
ticking. We hadn't left yet and there was a 52-minute-plus trip
ahead of us. Our group was 42 strong, seven adults and 35
fifth- to 12th-graders heading out from our church in Orland Park
to work our butts off packing food for many less fortunate
people. People in countries like Haiti, El Salvador,
Indonesia, North Korea, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Uganda and
Zimbabwe were counting on us. The group loaded up in cars,
vans and SUVs to make the voyage to the Feed My Starving Children
packing facility in Aurora.
When we arrived, we were shown the orientation room, asked to grab
a hair net, wash our hands and not touch anything until we put on
our gloves. For many of us, this was our first time working
the food packing line. We were met by an engaging older gentleman
who carefully and charismatically described how we and the other 19
people working with us were to perform each task. Once we were
given the OK to get started, we got busy. Real
busy! Since only those 18 and older were allowed to work the
plastic bag sealing stations, the youth selected jobs that either
scooped and poured a selection of rice, soy, dried vegetable mix,
vitamins and seasonings or weighed or packed the prepared food into
bags and then boxes.
It made the time pass quick and fun as we decided to yell out
something like "Go Blackhawks," "Go Bears," "SpongeBob SquarePants"
and a variety of other fun things each time each group finished
packing a box. This let the people volunteering their time in the
warehouse know that it was time to come and get the box to weigh
and pack on the pallet. We listened to music and some people
really got into singing along. This sped things along and made
working together a real blast.
As we finished our two-hour shift and cleaned up our work
stations, the group was invited to the warehouse, to hear about
what would happen to the food and pray together that it would reach
its intended destination safely and nourish those in need. We were
told that over the last 20 years, only a few Feed My Starving
Children shipments have been hijacked.
After we prayed, we were offered a small sample of the cooked food
that we had just spent the last several hours packing. For
those of us who gave it a try, it was truly tasty. A woman
from Feed My Starving Children told us that we packed 94 cases of
36 bags of prepared food each. With each bag able to feed six
meals, we were able to calculate that our packing efforts
contributed to providing 20,304 meals and would feed 58 starving
children for a year. The average group packs about one carton
per person packing or about 61 for a group our size. It felt
really good to know that we did our very best.
This group of youth and adults learned valuable lessons about
teamwork, camaraderie, service to humanity and had a lot of fun in
the process. We shared our time, talents and were blessed to
be able to contribute some money to help sustain the
cause. Everyone said they would gladly return. I can't think
of a better way to spend a part of a Saturday afternoon, can
If you would like to find out more about how you or your group can
help pack or donate to this worthy cause, visit www.fmsc.org.
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