In January, a semitrailer loaded with fortified rice, vitamins, dried vegetables and soy protein will roll into Salina. Salinans will package the food and it will be shipped out to nourish children around the world.
What Linda Ourada and Cameron Jackson want you to know right now about that semi is that your donations are needed to fill it.
“We’re raising funds for raw materials,” said Jackson, co-leader with Ourada of the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event. It’s planned for the Kansas Wesleyan University student activity center on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 18.
Ourada said $22,000 must be raised to pay for one semi full of MannaPack Rice, which is scientifically formulated for malnourished children and culturally acceptable worldwide. It would be even better if enough donations came in to have a two-day event, she said.
“I think it’s quite a realistic amount for a town of 50,000 people, but I’m also hyped about it, so I’m a little partial,” Ourada said. “What we like about it is your money goes so far.”
22 Cents to Feed a Child
It costs only 22 cents to feed a child a life-changing amount of calories and nutrients each day, which means the $22,000 being raised will fund 100,000 meals. So even small donations make a big difference for children in the 70 some countries worldwide that the agency serves, she said.
“What can you buy for 22 cents?” she asked. “This means life or death for many people.”
She said that if a person saved a quarter in a jar each time he or she ate a meal, it would take less than a month to have enough money to feed a child for three months.
“Eighty dollars and a child will stay alive a whole year,” she said. “Look at us. We spend $80 at the Olive Garden with four people. It doesn’t take long. That’s what I like to point out to people, that this is a great investment.”
Ourada said she has made presentations at more than 30 churches and plans to appear before several civic organizations this month to promote the cause. As of Wednesday afternoon, according to the website at http://www.fundraising.fmsc.org/SalinaKansas, about $3,000 had been contributed toward the Salina event.
“This is a citywide, communitywide, areawide event,” she said. “We want all the churches, all the organizations, all the businesses to contribute and to volunteer. We just want them all to experience this.”
She said a website for volunteer signup will be made available Nov. 20.
It’s an Amazing Feeling
Ourada said she became familiar with Feed My Starving Children through her daughter-in-law, Anna, who works at the organization’s headquarters in Minnesota. She said that when she and her husband go to visit their son and his wife, they usually sign up for a two-hour session of packaging food at a site there. She began thinking she needed to organize a mobile packing event in her hometown.
“You’re in a room full of people and you just get this amazing feeling from doing this,” she said. “In about two hours, a roomful of people can pack more than 35,000 meals for these children.”
Ourada said 92 percent of all money donated goes directly to the children’s feeding program, and 99.6 percent of the meals safely reach the intended location, including orphanages, clinics, schools and other sites throughout the Third World. She said the food is prayed over when it is packaged and before it is shipped.
FMSC is in the top 1 percent of more than 8,000 nationally rated charities, according to Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator.
The Hungry Children
But what really motivates Ourada to support the charity are before and after photos of starving children, those whose lives have been saved by eating MannaPack meals. She wants to change the fact that about 6,200 children die each day from starvation.
“I talk about Marilyn when I do presentations,” she said. “She was supposed to die. They had no hope for her. Something was going in her favor, and so they brought her to the orphanage and the missionaries took her in in Haiti.”
Ourada said Marilyn was in the last stages of starvation and tuberculosis, weighing 14 pounds at age 3, when she came to the orphanage. Seven months later, she weighed 33 pounds and was able to stand and walk.
“People don’t realize how many children die of hunger each day because it’s not in our backyard,” she said. “That number needs to come down. With this, it will come down. We’ll make an impact in our own community with this.”