Saturday, March 27, 2010

Impact Lives

This afternoon M.G. and I had an opportunity to volunteer for a couple hours with the Impact Lives organization. It is an organization that seeks to transform communities around the world by providing food, water, education, and medical care. They also want to bring transformation to the lives of those who volunteer and the communities they live in.

Several groups in our town, including our church, came together to organize this one-day event. The community works together to raise the money needed to purchase special food supplies. Then the Impact Lives crew come and set up a food packing operation where community volunteers pack bags of the specially designed food that is sent to people who need it. The food we packed today is being shipped to Haiti.

The bags in this picture each have 6 servings of a special blend designed by Cargill, ADM, and General Mills.

It contains:
  • Textured Soybean, fortified with 9 vitamins and minerals (making it 52% protein)
  • 6 Vegetables for taste
  • Rice for filler
  • Vegetarian chicken flavored powder
  • 21 Vitamins and Minerals
One serving of this substance, cooked in water like normal rice, is the only food that most of the recipients will get in a day. But, it provides the nutrients necessary for them to survive and costs just 25 cents to produce and ship per serving. It helps children have energy to learn at school and can help keep them from having to find work at very young ages in dangerous situations. It helps pregnant women give birth to babies with a better chance of survival. After a natural disaster it can help people who have been displaced from their homes and cut off from food supply.

Some MN friends had an opportunity to work with a similar company as a part of a blogging meet-up in January. I enjoyed reading about their experiences and was really excited to hear that a similar opportunity was coming to my area. Also, M.G. had heard small bits of information about the earthquake in Haiti and had some questions, but really no concept of what things are like for kids in so many parts of the world.

This seemed like a good way to open her mind a little to how difficult life can be for some people in a way that also allowed her to get a feeling for helping others.

We worked at a table similar to this one with 8 other people. M.G. had the job of scooping the soy cereal into a measuring cup - you can see it in that gray bin. I was one of two people who alternated holding the empty bag under the funnel as the ingredients were dumped in. After each volunteer put in their ingredient, the bags were weighed to be sure that they held the right amount of food, sealed, and packed into boxes of 36. I think our table filled 10 boxes in just over an hour.

All together, our community packed 285,000 meals today.

After our boxes were packed, the president of the organization spoke with us about where the food was going. We also heard from a doctor who had spent a few weeks in February working in a clinic in Haiti.

I was really proud that M.G. got into her job and didn't complain about scooping for an hour (3 tubs of soy!). She loved how each table cheered when they filled a box and was excited that there were other kids at our table helping out.

For me, I had read about the organization my friends had volunteered with and read several touching blog posts with statics about making a life or death difference in the lives of children. Liz summed it up nicely by looking at the numbers. Today we heard a lot about the situation in Haiti right now and it was difficult to feel like we were making a difference at all. But, as the organization's president said, it wasn't just about packing food for an hour today, but getting the idea to start making a difference in your own community as well.

The photos in this post were taken from the Impact Lives website.


LutherLiz said...

It feels wonderful to do doesn't it. It is amazing to me how far 1 hr of work goes. It's great the MG could help too!

LutherLiz said...

I tagged you today with an Easter basket for a good cause on my blog