Thursday, July 22, 2010

thankful thursday

I'm so thankful for my {mostly} kind, caring, sensitive, thoughtful 9-year-old. This year, for her birthday, Rebekah wanted to have her "party" at Feed My Starving Children. If you've never heard of, or don't know much about, Feed My Starving Children take a minute to check out their website. It's a fabulous organization!

So, Rebekah's birthday was in March. You may remember {shame on you if you don't!} that there was a major earthquake in Haiti about 2 months before Rebekah's birthday. FMSC did a push to pack meals for Haiti and when I tried to schedule her birthday party, I was completely shut down. All the volunteer slots were full for weeks and, even, months out. People must have thought that, especially during a recession when monetary funds might be tight, this was a way that they could tangibly help the people of Haiti. Anyhow, she really, really wanted to do this for her birthday party, so I told her we'd make it work. Well, we did::we made it work by putting off her birthday party until the summer. A few weeks ago we {Rebekah and I} designed and made some pretty fun, cute invitations and sent them out to her friends. On her invitation she asked for no gifts {honestly, it was her idea. She said to me "Mom, there isn't really anything I need and I already have too much stuff to pick up and put away and keep clean" . . . amazing to me how she can be so mature one minute and completely flip out at her 2-year-old sister the next minute for something completely "no big deal!" . . . sorry, I digress!}. Instead of gifts, she asked her friends to bring a donation {monetary or tangible -- paper towels, toilet paper, batteries, hair binders, etc.} for FMSC.

So, the other day 7 of Rebekah's friends got dropped off at our house at 11 a.m. and got busy packing themselves a bag lunch to eat in the van on the way to the FMSC site in Eagan. {I was hoping that having them eat lunch while on the van ride might keep their mouths busy enough that the noise of 7 girls -- and 3 chatty moms! -- wouldn't be deafening. I was wrong on that assumption. It was quite loud in "The Stoll Haul"}.

all loaded up, buckled in and ready to go::
{holy cow, Sophie looks EXACTLY like her mother in this one!}

When we arrived at FMSC we unloaded all the kids and donations and headed inside. We got in and sat down on the benches to await our introduction to FMSC, some great facts and the instructions on what we would be doing while we were there {our shift was from 12-2}. About half the girls had been there before {with Girl Scouts or church or other birthday parties}. The little video clip they showed got me all teary {not surprising!} and we were all excited to get to work when the time came. We packed plastic bags with between 380 and 400 grams of dehydrated food {chicken stock, veggies, soy & rice} that will be cooked in water when they arrive at the designated country. If I remember right, the boxes from the week we volunteered were off to Tanzania. Each bag feeds 6 hungry kiddos.

here are the girls in their hairnets, ready to get to work::

I won't go into all the details, but each person has a job at their "station" and you pack as much food as you can during the time slot you are volunteering. Our little group packed 6 boxes::each box holds 36 bags and each bag feeds 6 precious kiddos, so that adds up to just under 1300 kids that will get a healthy, filling meal because of Rebekah's decision to have her party at FMSC! Isn't that great? Are you a tad teary at this point too, or is it just me? Adults would probably have been a tad more efficient as each kid wanted a turn with each of the jobs {because, as you know, scooping a cup of rice is completely different than scooping up a cup of soy!!}. But what a great learning experience, lesson and emphasis on the fun of volunteering, giving and helping others for those precious girls to have. Anyway, after our actual work time was through {it went SO fast} we came back to the front room and sat on the benches where we got to sample the meals we had been packing to see what the children we were feeding would be eating soon. They also gave us stats on how many boxes and meals we had done during our shift {the site wasn't full, they could have handled more volunteers, but there were about 5 or 6 groups there at the same time as us}. Then they called Rebekah up and asked her how old she was and the whole group sang to her. They even gave her a FMSC t-shirt for having her party there . . . that was a fun bonus we hadn't expected! Then we drove home and had a little DQ birthday cake and played until the kids got picked up at 4 {if I had it to do over again the party would have ended at 3:30, that last half hour, with no real planned activities, was nearing the edge of what this pregnant momma could handle on a hot summer day!}. They have adult to kid ratios, based on age, for groups that include children, so I am indebted to my wonderful friends Tricia and Ing who came along with me to help with the all the fun! {and even wore hairnets!}

Happy Birthday, Rebekah::

If you are local to the Twin Cities, I would highly, highly recommend getting a group together and volunteering at Feed My Starving Children. It's a wonderful organization, you're doing a wonderful {Biblically-mandated} thing and you'll have fun. I promise! If you're not local, or you don't have time, you could just send them your money. They'd love that too!!


  1. What a cool, memorable birthday! Good for you Rebekah, Shana, and friends for giving of yourselves to help others!

  2. sounds like it'll be one birthday party rebekah won't ever forget because it wasn't all about her. love you guys!


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