Join The Pack: Help FFTP Pack Meals for Hungry Families in Honduras
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (July 13, 2023) Food For The Poor (FFTP) is inviting volunteers to Join The Pack and help provide 100,000 lifesaving MannaPack rice meals for families living in poverty in Honduras. Working with its longstanding partner, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), the charity will host the event on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Advent Lutheran Church at 300 E. Yamato Road in Boca Raton.
“MannaPack rice meals are a lifeline for people living in poverty,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “We’re grateful for our partnership with Feed My Starving Children and for the dedicated volunteers who join us year after year to bring much-needed relief to people struggling to survive.”
Fundraising is an integral part of Join The Pack. Each volunteer is asked to donate or raise a minimum of $50 to help defray the cost of the meals and shipment to Honduras. Businesses, churches, community groups or individuals can form fundraising teams and compete for prizes, such as FFTP-branded water bottles, umbrellas and totes.
Since 2009, FFTP and FMSC, a Christian nonprofit organization based in Coon Rapids, Minn., have partnered to provide more than 839.8 million meals for families in need, including more than 75.5 million sent directly to Honduras. In June of this year, FMSC achieved a milestone at an event in Shakopee, Minn., packing the charity’s 4 billionth meal since its founding in 1987.
Linda Coello, President and Founder of CEPUDO, FFTP’s longtime partner in Honduras, will be among the volunteers at the charity’s event in October. Last year, she participated in Join The Pack Ukraine at Florida Atlantic University Arena, where more than 450 volunteers packed 116,640 MannaPack rice meals for children and families in desperate need in Ukraine.
When invited to participate again this year, Coello eagerly signed on, citing the excitement and camaraderie that makes Join The Pack a wonderful event.
“You can see the effort, the love and the sharing of the people who are packing,” she said. “You become friends with the people working next to you – people you’ve never met in your life and maybe won’t see again – because of the shared experience of helping people in need.”
The need for assistance is especially dire in Honduras. Nearly 65 percent of its population lives in poverty, with more than 48 percent below the poverty line, making Honduras among the top five impoverished countries in the Western Hemisphere.
In addition to its ongoing struggle with poverty, Honduras also has suffered a severe drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon that has hit Central America and is expected to impact grain crops in the region, worsening food insecurity.
“We haven’t had any rain, so we’re going to have a very bad year,” Coello said. “All the beans, corn and crops have failed because of the drought. So, mostly all of the products are gone.”
Coello plans to encourage family members, Hondurans in South Florida and others of Hispanic descent to volunteer.
“Not only are they going to help pack the MannaPacks, but they will be sending their love to the Hondurans that are the most in need here in the country,” she said. “They will be giving a little piece of themselves – a little bit of their time that day – to help people in Honduras.”
The charity seeks 500 volunteers, including individuals, businesses, churches and community groups, to participate in Join The Pack. Three packing sessions are scheduled: 9 to 11 a.m., noon to 2 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
Volunteers will fill plastic bags with cups of white rice and soy, scoops of freeze-dried vegetables and flavoring containing essential vitamins and nutrients. Once packed, the easy-to-transport meals are prepared with boiling water, with each pack providing six generous servings of nutritious food.
Beneficiaries are extremely grateful to receive MannaPack rice meals and are creative in their preparation, Coello said. In addition to the boiling water required to prepare the meals, recipients add spices and locally sourced ingredients to enhance the flavor with their cultural flair.
“We’ve done a lot of different recipes – we even have a recipe book that we share with all our beneficiaries,” she said. “And now we have a lot of different ways to prepare it.”
For more information on Join The Pack, including sponsorship opportunities, please call 888-404-4248 or visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/jointhepack.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.