Hunger to Hope
In my blog this week, I want to share these words from Pastor Robin Blumenthal:
This week, for Feed My Starving Children, I sat in the sound booth and hit play 11 times so everyone [attending the orientation at the beginning of their FMSC volunteer shift] could watch the video about a 19-month-old child. She weighed just 9 pounds. Her caregiver was her elderly grandmother who looked just this side of death herself. When she was asked the child’s name, the grandmother said she didn’t give her a name because she wasn’t going to survive. She needed a miracle! After 4 months of eating FMSC’s MannaPack food (the kind of food we packed this last week), she gained 12 pounds. At 21 pounds, she now had chubby cheeks, curly black hair and a beautiful smile. She received enough food to not only give her hope, but to give her grandmother enough courage to finally name her – Jascent. She’s now thriving!
As I reflect on our fifth Feed My Starving Children MobilePack since 2014, I wonder how many others have been given that same hope. How many children in the Philippines or the Dominican Republic or Cambodia or Haiti have been given a chance to live, to learn, to dream, to feel loved? And then there is the effect it has on those of us packing. The joy of giving, the knowledge that we are saving lives, the chance to invite so many to come to our campus, the opportunity to demonstrate in a tangible way that we all can work to make our world better and, as always, there is the privilege of showing God’s love in action.
Here are the numbers from this last 4-day packing event at Pantano. 2,224 volunteers packed 412,128 meals! 936 of the volunteers were from 17 schools who came and served during school hours (3 different public school districts, private Catholic and Christian schools and the Arizona School for Deaf and Blind). Another 754 of the volunteers were from various groups, including from Pantano. And 240 of the volunteers were teenagers from our church and four other churches that came on our teen night. This brings the total meals packed to date by Pantano to 1,423,812. That’s enough food to feed 3,835 kids a meal a day for a year. That’s hunger turned to HOPE.
THANK YOU for once again helping to make this event possible. Thank you for volunteering and serving. Thank you for inviting your families, small groups, neighbors and friends to pack because you know that doing this for the “least of these” was putting your faith into action. Thank you for being willing to sacrifice your time and effort. Thank you, Pantano, for being generous to share our facility, staff and resources and for the funding to make this all possible. THANK YOU ALL for the part you played!
And I want to add a THANK YOU to Pastor Robin for the amazing work she did to make all this happen. She recruited so many volunteers and engaged and involved so many schools. She did it with amazing organizational skill. It was her vision four years ago that got this started and her faith and tireless work that allowed it grow and expand every year. Thank you for giving all of us the opportunity to make a difference! And thanks to Mike Taylor and Lisa Flowers for being a part of a great team to push back hunger for so many. Well done!!