The massive, multi-day philanthropic project that brought more than 1,000 Lemont residents together to help the hungry in 2011 will be back in town again October 12-13.
Thanks to the efforts of a small group of organizers led by Lemont resident Peggy Magdziarz, Feed My Starving Children will bring a MobilePack event to town in hopes of making more than 200,000 meals for starving children throughout the world.
“Initially when planning it the first time, I wanted to try it for one year,” Magdziarz said. “But as it started growing, I thought maybe we could do it again.”
Last April, Lemont hosted its first MobilePack site at the Lemont Township building on Warner Avenue. Magdziarz’s original goal of raising $19,000 was far surpassed as more community groups and individuals came forward to make donations and express a desire to volunteer during the packing process.
The 2011 event ultimately raised $54,000, which was used to purchase ingredients for the 207,000 meals that were packaged by community volunteers on-site.
“As more groups got involved, people realized that it is an opportunity to help total strangers and bring the community together with a common goal that is totally unselfish,” Magdziarz said.
The 2012 event will be hosted by First Church of the Nazarene, 12725 Bell Road, which provides more space for the packaging process and allows for a compressed timeframe.
In the two days of the event, the group hopes to package at least 218,000 meals. To do so, they must first raise the $48,000 required to purchase the ingredients; nearly $20,000 has been collected to date.
“Without the funds to pay for ingredients, we can’t have the event,” Magdziarz said. “We have no problems getting volunteers—it’s fundraising that’s the biggest challenge.”
She hopes that the new location will make participation easier for volunteers because of the increased parking available, the larger space for packing, more flexibility with volunteer shift times and a familiar location for many Lemont families.
“Feed My Starving Children is all about feeding the hungry, and to be able to provide a place where people can be a part of that fits well with the vision of our church,” said Nazarene Youth Pastor Tim Britton.
Through his experiences taking groups to past FMSC events, Britton has seen the impact of this kind of hands-on service among those who participate.
“It’s an exciting way to serve, and you feel like you’re getting a lot done in the short time you’re there,” he said. “When they tell you at the end how many people you fed, it’s really gratifying.”
Britton also believes the event has an educational component that encourages volunteers to serve in other ways long after the meals they’ve prepared have been shipped.
“When you live in a place like Lemont that has more wealth than need, something like this gives you a way to see the world through a different set of eyes,” he said.
Those who get involved in the event will find a few changes this year in addition to the new location. An online fundraising tool has been created to track progress toward the financial goal of the event. It also allows individuals and groups to form teams to assist in fundraising in whatever way they choose.
In addition, Magdziarz plans to sell t-shirts to raise awareness of the event and the plight of hunger throughout the world.
“There are 18,000 children dying every day from starvation,” Magdziarz said. “We can’t solve this problem as just one town, but we can do something.”
Community groups and individuals who would like to get involved can contact Magdziarz at email@example.com.