Recently the Young Women of the McDowell and Arboleda wards in Mesa’s Hermosa Vista Stake participated in a service project at one of the packing sites for the Christian non-profit organization Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). The site in Mesa, at 1345 South Alma School Road, is one of seven established packing sites in the country, three of those in Minnesota and three in Illinois.
At each site, nutritionally complete meals are funded and assembled by donor volunteers, then shipped around the world as part of FMSC’s efforts to curb malnourishment and prevent starvation in children and families worldwide.
The meals are made of rice, soy nuggets, dehydrated vegetables, and flavoring and fortified with 20 vitamins and minerals, and they cost less than a quarter to make.
Such packages have reached more than 70 countries since the organization’s inception in 1987.
Laura Archibald, Young Women president of the McDowell Ward, explains why they chose this activity for their girls, saying, “Our theme for this year is ‘O ye that embark in the service of God.’ We asked some of the Young Women to come up with meaningful service projects we could do, and the most requested service activity was to serve at Feed My Starving Children.”
She says many of the Young Women had either been there when they were in a previous ward or had heard from a friend what a fun experience it was to serve there.
FMSC welcomes volunteers ages 5 and up. The site is handicap accessible and duties vary to accommodate the abilities of the volunteers. Some of the duties include: measuring and scooping food into pouches, weighing bagged foods, sealing pouches, packing food pouches into boxes, assembling boxes, labeling and several other simple tasks.
Sister Archibald says, “They make it very easy to set up a time to give service.”
The user-friendly FMSC website, at www.fmsc.org/volunteer, allows volunteers to sign up, select the packing site and choose a date for their group to volunteer. “One of our young women did the reservation for all of us in just a few minutes,” Sister Archibald says.
Susanna Boyle, 13, says the enjoyed participating in the FMSC project. She says, “It was cool to know that we sent food to help people in other countries not just in the United States. It’s amazing to see how many boxes could be filled with food so quickly by a small group of volunteers. We had over a thousand meals packed.”
Sister Archibald adds, “Feed My Starving Children makes volunteering fun. The young women enjoyed the upbeat, good music that helped keep the work moving along and the energetic and friendly staff inspire volunteers to do their best.”
She says, “The staff share real stories of children who have been saved from starvation because of the food that volunteers pack. Learning that 6,200 children die each day from starvation weighs on your heart and inspires you to give all you can. Every Young Woman who volunteered left with a bright smile and expressed the desire to return.”