TEMPE, Ariz. -- In just three years, volunteers with an Arizona charity have packed more than 5 million meals for starving children in nearly 70 countries throughout the world.
As Tess Rafols explained, Feed My Starving Children is operating out of a temporary facility in Tempe right now, but they're hoping to make it a permanent location. That would allow them to feed 54,000 children every year.
"These people that we're feeding have nothing," said Janine Skinner, the development adviser at the Tempe site. "Most of these kids, if they can get one cup of Feed My Starving Children food a day, that's fantastic."
The meals packed by Feed My Starving Children volunteers include the essentials -- chicken, vegetables, soy and rice -- and they cost just 25 cents to produce and require only boiling water to prepare. The formulation, which contains 20 essential vitamins and minerals, was designed by scientists at Cargill and General Mills to meet the nutritional needs of a malnourished child between 4 and 8 years old.
In the past year, 15,000 volunteers of all ages have hand packed these life-saving meals at the Tempe location.
"When you're here, you notice the power of community," said Dan Ray, who volunteers with his daughter. "It's amazing. One person can pack a lot of food, but when you get 40 or 50 people, you can pack thousands and thousands of meals."
Rays says his daughter loves volunteering and putting together the MannaPack Rice bags.
"She definitely feels like she's making a difference," he said. "She's a child feeding another child, which is really the awesome part of that."
Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is a Christian organization based in Minnesota. It has several locations throughout the country. In addition to its permanent sites, Feed My Starving Children hosts what it calls its MobilePack program, and it's exactly what it sounds like.
For more information about Feed My Starving Children, visit www.fmsc.org/arizona/movement.