three college students and a banner for Feed My Starving Children

My friends and I had a great time volunteering over break!

While some people may have been wearing flip-flops and shorts over spring break, I was donning a hair cap and some plastic gloves.  And even if I wasn’t laying on a beach towel soaking up the sun, I was standing on my feet, hands deep in rice and loving every minute of it.

During the past week, I spent some of my time volunteering at Feed My Starving Children. FMSC is a Christian organization dedicated to feeding the hungry in both “body and sprit.” In just this past year, FMSC packed over 162 million meals and feed 446,000 children every day. Volunteers donate their time to this non-profit organization to pack meals for an hour or so. The meals are packed into plastic bags and consist of soy protein, dried vegetables, and 20 vitamins/minerals. Each meal only costs 22 cents, meaning that $80 can feed a child for a full year!

I volunteered at my home church, where a FMSC mobile truck had set up a meal-packing site. The tables were organized so each person had a different responsibility. One person filled the bags, another weighed and sealed each bag and then a third packed the bags into boxes. While this may sound pretty mundane to some, the volunteers kept the experience lively by screaming out team chants every time they filled a box and keeping score of how many bags could be packed every minute. The bustling energy and encouragement from all the packers made the time fly by so quickly and I was even disappointed when the shift was up.

To me, this was a much more rewarding experience than lounging on a sandy beach or spending hours watching Netflix on my couch. While there is a place for relaxation, I am so glad I was able to spend some of my free time making a life-changing difference in a child’s life somewhere in the world. In the one hour I volunteered, over 14,000 meals were packed which means 39 children are going to be fed every day for a full year!

I write this post not as a full-blown bragathon, but as an encouragement to WSU (and other college) students to think about volunteering their own time to non-profits like FMSC.  It’s mind-boggling that while we have all the time in the world right now, there are others who won’t even last the day due to lack of food and essential vitamins. My heart breaks that life looks so different for those across the world, while I worry about which cereal to buy at Wal-Mart or what fast food place I should choose for dinner.

So, my fellow Warriors, please consider these volunteering options by next spring break, summer vacation or even this upcoming weekend. Let’s live up to WSU’s mission statement and “serve generously, lead responsibly and respond imaginatively and creatively to the challenges” of our work, lives and community.

Because if we don’t, who will?

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Melissa VanGrinsven

Melissa graduated in 2015 with BA in Mass Communication and Independent Studies minor. She is from Savage, MN and her hobbies include reading Karen Kingsbury novels, writing short stories and her personal blog --melissagraceinprogress.blogspot.com-- taking beautiful pictures, drinking iced coffee (with a shot of white chocolate, please), listening to country music, pinning marathons on her Pinterest page.

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