Sometimes you do not know where to begin. You can see the problem and the problem seems to be so great, you just have to say, “Where do I begin?”
I remember that feeling so many years ago when as part of the Ecumenical Youth Group the group was on a mission field trip to the Twin Cities. We were headed to the headquarters of Feed My Starving Children to package meals that would be sent to people throughout the world who were dying of starvation.
I was the director of the Ecumenical Youth Group, and I was hoping to find an event that would be missional. I wanted to give the youth that were with us a chance to “be the hands and feet of God in this world.”
The day was a great success. In the two hours that we were there, we learned about world hunger and the devastating effects that it has on people. We learned that at that time in 2009, one in 11 children born into the world would die of starvation. And we were there to see if we could help with that. We packaged around 25,000 meals that day. We, along with other groups that attended the pack, worked very hard. When we were done, we were able to pray over the meals we packed. We prayed to end world hunger. We prayed that the meals would find their destination. We prayed for the blessing to be the hands and feet of God.
As we were leaving that day to return to Tomah, the staff thanked us for our service but had a small request for us: Would we consider doing a Mobile Pack in Tomah?
We had no idea what that was, so we asked for the information.
They told us a mobile pack would involve gathering 500 volunteers to package over 100,000 meals in Tomah. Oh, and by the way, you need to raise $20,000 to pay for it. I truly wish I had a picture of what my face looked like at that moment. I am sure it would have been funny. And yet, not so funny.
Well, I do remember laughing about the idea on the way home. There was no way we were going to be bringing a Mobile Pack to Tomah! (I hope you can see where this is going!)
We returned to Feed My Starving Children in Minneapolis the following year, because we really did enjoy the experience of doing this great missional work.
We packaged the meals. We prayed for the meals. And sure enough on the way out to go back home, the staff asked us again, “Have you thought more about doing a Mobile Pack in Tomah?” Well, the truth is – we did.
We were inspired by the message Jesus gave to his disciple Peter in the Gospel of John 21 when he said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” Could we really do more than what we were doing?
Where would we begin to find 500 people to help us, and how could we begin to raise that much money?
Well, we did begin.
Our first Feed My Starving Children Tomah Area Mobile pack began on the second weekend in July of 2011. We packed over 109,000 meals, which made sure that 301 of God’s children would have a meal to eat for a year. We raised the $20,000 that was needed. And over 500 hundred people came forth to help us pack! It truly was a blessed moment!
So, once we began this movement, the next question was, “Do we stop? Or keep going?” I wondered if this ever was truly a question.
We didn’t stop. The people of the Tomah Area did not stop! From that first Mobile pack in 2011 we have held a Mobile Pack every other year on the second weekend in July. We just completed our fifth Mobile Pack this past July 12-13. It truly is amazing to me what one small idea can produce.
At the end of this last Mobile Pack, this amazing community of people has donated over $110,000 to package over 600,000 meals to send to God’s children all over the world. Over 2,500 people have helped us achieve these results.
Thank you to all the people who have supported us over the past 10 years. It truly has been a great privilege and blessing to bring the Feed My Starving Children organization to Tomah!
Just a little request that I have for all of you reading this little article before I end. What are you doing on July 9-10, 2021?
Maybe you could come on down to the Tomah fairgrounds and help us continue to be the hands and feet of God for the world?