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Local Nonprofit Aims To Feed Millions Threatened By Famine

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Feed My Starving Children is putting out the call for volunteers to help with the famine in Africa and the Middle East.

Stephen O'Brien, the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, says 20 million people in four countries across Africa and the Middle East are at risk of starvation and famine.

O'Brien called it the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, the year the U.N. was formed.

FMSC is just one of many organizations answering the call to offer aid, sending meals to Somalia and other countries in need.

"This is different because due to conflict, drought and many other reasons, there's a great need with food insecurity in that region," said Alli Schwartz, communications manager for FMSC.

In an average year, FMSC will contribute around a million meals to the hungry. The current humanitarian crisis has increased the need tenfold.

"We need 10 million additional meals, above and beyond what we planned for," Schwartz said.

Feed My Starving Children - Meals Arrive In Somalia
Somali children watch FMSC meals being prepared (credit: FMSC)

In order to meet demand, the organization needs the help of roughly 6,000 volunteers to pack meals.

"We need volunteers because that is the power behind our meals. Each meal is volunteer packed by their own two hands," Schwartz said.

Volunteers like Sue and Dennis Sandberg of Maple Lake try to spend one day each week packing food for the organization.

"The little time you invest makes a profound difference in these kids' lives," Sue Sandberg said.

During their mid-week session, the couple helped weigh and pack a bag of carefully measured rice, vegetables, soy and vitamins.

"There's six meals of a cup each and, for a lot of kids, they only have the one cup a day," she said.

The work done on this day won't bring an end to famine, but the Sandbergs leave knowing their effort will now feed children who would have gone without.

"Nothing else we could do has the same value as our time here does," Dennis Sandberg said.

If you'd like to volunteer, there are six shifts available, six days a week, at three different locations around the Twin Cities.

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