The malnutrition-fighters Feed My Starving Children are returning to Spokane for the third annual MobilePack event on Sept. 29-30.
Event coordinator Charles Brondos needs 900 volunteers to pack 202,000 meals earmarked for famine-stricken Africa and the Middle East.
Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Shafer Road in Spokane Valley, will host for the third time packing sessions Friday at 4:30 and 7 p.m.; and Saturday at 9 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m.
Staff will provide refreshments, including homemade cookies. “It’s … a little something as a thank-you for participating,” said hospitality coordinator Cindy Secor, who baked over 1,500 cookies last year. Youth groups are encouraged to sign up for the Friday night session, which will feature live music.
Event organizers tell volunteers to expect an electric, raucous atmosphere. “It’s usually loud, and people yell and scream when they fill a box,” Secor said. “People leave energized … I think they are more energized when they leave than when they walk in.”
Volunteers of all ages are welcome. “There is something for everyone,” Secor said.
FMSC, a Christian nonprofit founded in 1987, provides 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.
Funded by donations and staffed by volunteers, FMSC is able to produce a full meal, packed to withstand a trip around the world, for 22 cents. To date the organization has shipped 1.8 billion MannaPacks.
Retired neurosurgeon Brondos founded the Inland Northwest MobilePack in 2015, inspired by a friend’s 8-year-old granddaughter. “Instead of having a party with gifts, (she) took her friends to one of (FMSC’s) fixed packing sites,” he said. “Later I saw one of their videos and I thought, ‘That looks exciting; why don’t we do that in Spokane?’”
FMSC holds MobilePack events all over the country. In 2016, 1.1 million volunteers churned out 284 million meals.
Volunteers can come from anywhere. “Last year we had people from 37 different churches,” Brondos said. “A couple of years ago we had a group of 25 that came from Hermiston, Oregon.” Fairchild Air Force Base committed a contingent of 20 this year.
According to a Charity Navigator analysis of its 2016 data, 87.3 percent of FMSC’s expenses went to products and services. The organization earned an A rating from an April 2017 Charity Watch report.
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