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Miami joins in packing food for the hungry abroad

By Talmadge Ian Hays
On March 7, 2014

Miami University's Feed My Starving Children chapter will host its third annual MobilePack event April 12 to back meals to send to hungry children in over 70 nations.

The massive operation will be held in the pavilion of the Armstrong Student Center and all are welcome to participate, according to Miami juniors Jordan Habel and Megan Schipper, the event's organizers.

Volunteers will be asked to donate $50 for the purchase of food and supplies, which will then be packed and shipped across the globe. Habel and Schipper said they expect a turnout of over 500 helpers.

Habel, a music education major, brought Feed My Starving Children to Miami's campus three years ago. When he first arrived at Miami, Habel saw a video about Feed My Starving Children, which he said immediately resonated with him.

"People must have thought I was crazy, because I thought I was crazy," Habel said. "[But], the university is a perfect place for the MobilePack. We have such a unique opportunity on college campuses because, if students realize now that they can make a difference financially, then I think that it prepares them to be lifelong givers"

According to Habel, ten years ago, 18,000 children died in Africa every year due to hunger. Since then, that number has fallen to only 6,200.

"That's what drives me the most: the prospect that ten years from now there could be no hunger," Habel said.

Feed My Starving Children is a national organization that asks its volunteers to each donate $50, which it uses to purchase and send food to Africa, Haiti and South America. However, Habel said, the goal isn't to simply feed the needy children.

"We aim to be out of the area within three years: to stop providing meal support, so that in time they can set up business development, education, healthcare and all these sustainable activities," Habel said. "So that when we stop providing meals, these villages and towns can fend for themselves and ï¬ourish on their own."

At Miami's chapter of Feed My Starving Children, a national organization, nine core members compose the "Exec Team." Beneath them are 30 ancillary members who take care of day-to-day activities. During major events such as the MobilePack, the number of volunteers skyrockets to over 500.

The $50 goes to the purchase of differing food items including soy, rice, wheat and mineral dust. The food is then shipped to Oxford and volunteers pack the raw goods to be shipped to the countries in need.

Schipper, vice president of Miami's Feed My Starving Children, said she was inspired by its message and Habel's devotion to the organization. Schipper was further inspired to help after a trip to Kenya in January, 2013.

"I went to Kenya for my own reasons, but I definitely saw the benefits Feed My Starving Children could have," Schipper said. "It's my belief that all people are equal. And everyone deserves food."

Schipper, an anthropology major, said she has always been interested in global cultures.

"It was more of a relation trip than anything else, I wanted to go and meet people, interact and learn more about how Kenyans live," Schipper said.

Schipper said her strongest impetus to help those less fortunate came from an encounter with a boy her own age who lived in an orphanage in Kenya.

"He was overwhelmed by the fact that I was just there, obviously I didn't have anything to give him, but the fact that I wasn't just some wealthy individual who was removed from the situation really meant a lot to him," Schipper said.

It is that idea that drives Feed My Starving Children. Nearly 100 percent of the food that is shipped reaches its destination. This is a rarity amongst groups of this type, according to Habel.

"These are some of the most violent places on earth, it's truly amazing that we can do what we do," Habel said.

Volunteers can register on the group's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ MUFMSC


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