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Second ‘Mobile Pack’ event set for Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- More than a year and a half has passed since Worthington hosted a Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) Mobile Pack. Pastors Kristine Stewart and Scott Barber, along with the entire Ministerial Association made up of many local pastors,...

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The Worthington Arena fills with volunteers to fill meals into bags for a Feed My Starving Children event in this March 2015 photo.

WORTHINGTON -- More than a year and a half has passed since Worthington hosted a Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) Mobile Pack. Pastors Kristine Stewart and Scott Barber, along with the entire Ministerial Association made up of many local pastors, feel that the time has come to host the event once again.

  “This is a fantastic, amazing opportunity to help end hunger around the world,” enthused Barber, pastor of Grace Community Church. “We’d love to match and exceed what happened last time.”

  The last Mobile Pack -- so named because the food packing equipment is brought to sites other than the permanent sites in the Twin Cities, as well as several other permanent locations across the country -- was hosted in March 2015. That two-day event mobilized more than 650 volunteers, fed 350 children for a year by packing 132,192 meals and brought in $30,000 in local donations.

  That total, more than $8,000 over the initial goal, was inspiring and thrilling for Barber and Stewart, who once again are heading the team of volunteers for 2017’s Mobile Pack.

  “We’ve set the date for March 31and April 1,” explained Stewart, pastor of First Covenant Church. “Once again, we will be using the Worthington Arena as the site for the pack. We had such a great community turnout last time, and we’re hoping for even more volunteers this time around.

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  “This is not just a church thing; anyone who wants to be involved can help pack meals.”

  Community service organizations, businesses, student groups, families, sports teams, groups of friends and -- of course -- individuals may sign up for various time slots over the Friday evening-through-Saturday event. Anyone in the region is welcome to volunteer. The one caveat is that they all be willing to wear hairnets, which while not attractive, are at least a humorous bonding moment for everyone involved.

  Each meal costs 22 cents to produce. This means that one child can eat for a day on less than a dollar, for a week on less than $5 and for a month on approximately $20. The meals were designed by food scientists from Cargill, General Mills and Pillsbury. They are FDA-registered and provide complete nutrition for a child to grow and thrive. The mixture of rice, soy protein, dried vegetables, vitamins, minerals and vegetarian chicken flavoring are tasty and acceptable in multiple cultures around the world. They are easily prepared with boiled water.

  FMSC is the original and largest supplier of nutritionally complete, packaged dry meals for the world’s hungry. Once packaged and ready to go, the meals are sent to nearly 50 countries a year, where they are distributed by missions and human service agencies. Children in schools, orphanages, hospitals and feeding programs all benefit from FMSC’s food.

  Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization “committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit,” according to the FMSC website.

  “The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and we ship these meals to our distribution partners,” the website adds. “FMSC meals have reached nearly 70 countries around the world in our history.”

  Worthington will be one of approximately 250 FMSC mobile events across the country this year. FMSC trucks the ingredients, bags, funnels, scales, hairnets and everything else needed to pack meals at the individual sites.

  Actual volunteer sign-ups won’t begin until six weeks before the event, but Stewart and Barber want people to put it on their calendars now so they know it’s coming and can plan accordingly. Children as young as 5 may volunteer, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.

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  In addition, donations are already being accepted for the Mobile Pack. The first third of the money, $8,000, is due to FMSC by January 1, 2017. Donations may be sent care of Tammy Koller at American Lutheran Church, 915 Winifred St, Worthington 56187. Questions may be directed to Stewart at First Covenant Church, 376-5109, or Barber at (507) 343-7920.

  “It’s not just the kids who are starving who are impacted by this,” concluded Barber, “those who participate are impacted, too. It’s a chance to live out God’s heart for the world in tangible ways.”

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