Redeemer Lutheran Church hosted malnutrition fighters Feed My Starving Children on Sept. 29-30. A spirited group of 795 volunteers packed 202,176 individual meals for delivery to distressed children around the world. “It was a great event,” organizer Charles Brondos said. “We had people from (age) 5 to 97, and lots of groups involved.”
Volunteers included contingents from 27 church groups, seven youth groups, Fairchild Air Force Base and the Gents Auto Club. Fairchild emailed Brondos afterwards, promising more volunteers next time. “There was just a single unit this year,” he said. “They told me there will be a lot more when the word gets out.” The home office, in Minneapolis, told Brondos that volunteers are already calling and asking about next year’s event.
The church parking lot filled and emptied five times, beginning Friday afternoon. “The first session, there was a half-hour for the first group to get out and the next group to get in,” said volunteer coordinator Barbara Schroeder. “That was a little challenging, but they all managed.”
The event organizers came up about 100 volunteers short of their goal, but the shortage did not surprise Brondos. “We know people sign up, and some people can’t show up because they got sick or something,” he said. “We just expect that.”
The rest of the volunteers picked up the slack, and then some; they ran out of supplies before they ran out of volunteers. “We actually had to shut down the last shift a half hour early,” said Brondos, “because we’d reached our goal.” Five shifts of volunteers, packing just over 250 meals apiece, produced enough meals to feed 553 starving children for a year.
“We’re still working on our financial goal,” said Brondos, a retired neurosurgeon who brought Feed My Starving Children to Spokane three years ago. The total cost of supplies was $44,278.12.
FMSC is a Christian nonprofit, founded in 1987 to provide culturally neutral, nutritionally complete meals tailored to the unique digestive needs of malnourished children. General Mills, Pillsbury and Cargill teamed up to develop the organization’s signature fortified rice meal – known as a MannaPack – in 1993. According to Charity Navigator, 87.3 percent of its 2016 expenses went to products and services.
Barbara Schroeder watched the volunteers file out, chirping and almost dancing as they headed to their cars. “People feel really good about what they’ve done,” said Schroeder. “How can you not?”
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