We joined several tennis friends in hairnets for a Feed My Starving Children event this week. In two hours many volunteers, 8 – 10 to a table, filled meal bags to be sent to countries in Central America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. A major recipient is Haiti where conditions are bleak, especially for the children

The process is well-organized and efficient. Each bag is filled with a scoop of vitamin powder, a scoop of dried vegetables, a cup of soy, and a heaping cup of rice. Bags are weighed, and sometimes rice is added to make the designated weight.

Once filled and weighed, each bag is passed on to two people who seal it and stack it on a table with the numbers 1 to 18 written on it. Two bags are placed on each number, and when 36 bags are ready, they are packed into a box to move to the next location in the process. Someone assigned to the box-moving did that task.

There are six servings to a bag, and different preparation methods are possible. Some villagers make soup, some make a “rice-a-roni”- like dish, and some take out the soy for patties, prepare the vegetables and vitamins, and cook the rice separately. I was partnered with a staff person who answered my questions about destinations and preparation. In the two hours we worked, we packed enough to feed 153 children for one year.

The process became a friendly competition with someone at each table calling out a completed box, “Table six, box 25.” There was camaraderie, laughter, and a feeling of accomplishment. I hadn’t known what to expect of the activity. Assembly lines suggest tedium and seriousness. We’d looked up the non-profit and learned that it was one of the higher-rated charities. It is also a Minnesota organization. We would do it again.