Omdahl: Fargo plans food packing extravaganza
Fargo organizers plan to pack 10 million meals for developing nations beginning Jan. 5, 2024, InForum columnist Lloyd Omdahl writes.
On Jan. 5, 2024 compassionate people in the Fargo metropolitan area will pack 10 million meals for hungry children through the Feed My Starving Children program.
The logistics are incredible. In a 10-day run in the Fargodome, organizers expect that 50,000 volunteers will be needed. Each shift will require 4,600 volunteers. One two-hour shift will pack enough meals daily to fill two semis.
Organizers are hoping that schools, churches and businesses will respond generously for this huge undertaking. They are looking for schools to become a core of support.
The ingredients will be shipped from Minneapolis. Now costing 29 cents a day, the nutritious food formula has been developed by General Mills, Cargill and other companies. The Fargo undertaking will require $3.3 million for ingredients
FMSC uses existing food distribution systems already in place, such as Food for the Poor, instead of creating a new system. Minneapolis businessman Richard Proudfit founded FMSC in 1987 after he saw the extensive poverty and starving children in Honduras.
While the Fargo effort will be colossal, it is possible for smaller communities to sponsor projects as long as they can pack a minimum of 100,000 meals and raise $29,000. During the past few years, Grand Forks, under the leadership of Bruce and Jodie Storhaug, has packed 12 times, usually packing 400,000 meals.
Local organizers in Ray, a city of 740 — North Dakota's 74th most populous city — pulled the community together to do a packing. Smaller communities than that have accepted the challenge. Maddock, population 400, has packed and Drake-Anamoose, population 510 together, have packed. Other cities that have packed include Minot, Beulah, Watford City, Mayville and Williston.
According to the Storhaugs, the first step is for some enthusiast to bring together churches and schools and start recruiting an interdenominational committee. In Grand Forks, we have a committee that includes Lutherans and Catholics, with a sprinkling of Evangelicals.
The FMSC Eagan headquarters will furnish information and guidance for any community that wants to step out. If Ray and Drake-Anamoose can pack, so can another 100 North Dakota communities if they can mobilize the local support.
It doesn’t take a Fargodome. Minimum requirements include packing 100,000 meals, 3,000 square feet of space, a fully operational HVAC system, a water supply, a working forklift and sinks for washing dishes or a dishwasher.
Feed My Starving Children has many lessons, especially for the Christian community.
In the first place, packing meals for hungry children is obedience to Christ who expressed compassion for the needy children.
Packing fosters a greater sense of community by bringing together people of all faiths — or no faith at all — to share a common goal. Catholics, Lutherans and mainline churches work side-by-side to express the value of human lives no matter where in the world they are.
Usually, a majority of volunteers are children, so they learn early in life the value of compassionate sharing. Besides, it is one of the great memorable experiences in their lives.
Packing recognizes the sanctity of human lives by reducing starvation in developing countries.
A Feed My Starving Children project will provide churchgoers with a compassionate spirit the opportunity to become missionaries without the worldwide travel.
If you want to see where the rubber meets the road, call any church in Fargo. They will welcome your help.
Omdahl is a former N.D. lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.