1) How are the meal packages going to be distributed?
Most of the meals packaged will stay right in your own community. We partner with under served food pantries in your communities to help them fill their empty shelves and serve the 1 in 7 people struggling from food insecurity here in the United States. For meals that are shipped internationally, we proudly partner with Convoy of Hope and Food for the Hungry. We know our limitations as a youth organization. Though we play a key role in preparing the meals, we need partners with expertise in relief and development operations. They distribute food to countries and people in ways that are empowering and don’t create dependency or hurt local business. Most of the time this is in the form of relief.
2) I know that it’s possible to unintentionally damage local economies and agriculture by flooding free food on these places. How do you try to avoid that?
Imagine if you were a farmer who made her living selling rice wholesale to local suppliers. They, in turn, had a network of small store owners where locals would buy their staples. And then, a well-intentioned group of foreigners dumped a bunch of free food on your village. No one complains about free food, especially when you’re hungry, until it begins to destroy the local economy and livelihoods of so many. Now, because the economy has been changed, locals begin to depend on free, foreign food. While you may not have been rich to begin with, your village is somehow worse off than it was before.
We need to recognize the difference between acute problems and chronic ones, which determines whether relief is necessary or development. Relief is necessary when there are natural disasters, war, other things that disrupt the normal patterns of our economies, no matter where that help comes from. Development–thinking about how a community can stand on its own two feet–is necessary when there are chronic problems. Receiving free food at this time isn’t necessarily helping.
The majority of our Something To Eat meals go to areas that are in dire need of relief–-like after the Haiti earthquake of 2010 or the famine in the Horn of Africa in 2012. They couldn’t provide for their own needs locally. Now that the bleeding has stopped, so has our meal support because we need to make way for the local economies to get started again.
Many of our shipments are also being staged in different countries like Guatemala and the Dominican Republic in preparation for small-scale, disaster relief efforts like mudslides and earthquakes. A small portion of these do go to support ongoing development efforts like supplemental school lunches.
3) How are you able to package and deliver meals to other countries for only 25 cents per meal?
Our prices have been carefully configured to cover all costs of the raw products, warehouse maintenance, and most shipping costs. We also have a partnership with Convoy of Hope and Food for the Hungry that makes shipping to other countries possible.
4) Where do you get the ingredients for the meals?
We partner with Yego Foods to receive the nutrient dense raw ingredients that have been tried and tested to provide the malnourished, starving, and hungry with nutrients.
5) What does a meal package consist of?
Each package provides eight nutritionally complete servings. Our partner organization, Yego Foods, in association with Tyson nutritionists developed a food formula comprised of rice, fortified soy protein, cheese powder, vegetables, and essential vitamins & minerals. It is designed to have rice used as the base to provide a globally recognized and accepted staple. It is packed full of needed protein, vegetables, and essential vitamins and minerals
6) Is it possible for me to participate financially so that others who wish to package meal, yet may not have the resources, are able to do so?
Absolutely. We know of a few groups already who would love to participate, but are financially limited. You can make a donation on our website, by mail, or phone.
7) Can I volunteer even if I don’t have the money to package meals?
Opportunities to volunteer are often available. Please fill out a volunteer application form here and we will be in touch with you.
8) Can I have an event at my church or school?
Yes, you can have an event at your church, school, conference center, gymnasium, or anywhere else where you can power heat sealers and fit people and tables. Minimum meal packaging requirements may apply.
9) Can my young children participate in packaging with me?
Yes. You can use your own discretion, yet we feel that children ages 8 and up are able to participate on the food packaging assembly lines. Children younger than 8 can participate with direct parent supervision. Our assembly lines are simple and safe. While we wouldn’t suggest placing your 8 year-old in charge of a heat sealer, it is all relatively safe. Childcare will not be provided.
10) Is there going to be a Christian message that will accompany the distribution of the meal packages?
While we feel strongly about communicating our faith to others in constructive ways, we feel equally convicted that God’s heart grieves for his children who are in need and calls us to decisively act in love, compassion, and justice. We feel that is true regardless of their faith or whether an explicit Christian message is delivered. Some of our distribution partners are Christian and others may not be, so we trust that our acts of compassion embody the message of Christ. Additionally, we welcome people from different faith backgrounds to help us in our relief efforts.