Alexa Lee was inspired in the summer after her freshman year. This past week she led an effort at her school that packaged 108,886 meals, enough to feed almost 300 children for a full year.
“This is an amazing young lady with a true heart for kids and a huge vision. She spear-headed this whole effort from the beginning and made it happen herself,” said Drake Charles, director of student life at Linfield Christian High School.
The Linfield senior had been part of a life-changing event at her church (Inland Presbyterian Church in Pomona) in her freshman year. Students and adults had spent the year fundraising, and in one weekend, hand-packed over 200,000 meals to be distributed to hungry children throughout the world.
The event had a huge impact on Lee and she thought, “My school (Linfield) could do this; we have the money and the location. Although Temecula is a small town, the people here have the biggest hearts.”
Alexa’s passion to bring hope and food to starving children around the world led her to bring the idea and the reality of “Feed My Starving Children” (FMSC.org) and MobilePack to Temecula. The non-profit Christian organization is “committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.”
According to their website, “The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and we ship meals to nearly 70 countries around the world.”
The Linfield gymnasium was packed throughout the two-day event as classes of students and groups of community volunteers bonded over the cause. Over 12,000 pounds of rice and 10,000 pounds of soy as well as dried veggies and chicken (providing 17 different vitamins and minerals needed for malnourished children) were packaged into the over 100,000 sealed plastic “MannaPacks.” Over 500 volunteers participated; 60 percent were under the age of 18.
Alexa first brought the idea in her sophomore year to Gay Bennett (Linfield’s Vice-Principal, International Program Director), Angelo Iacoboni (Director of International Admissions), and Drake Charles (Director of Student Life). She took them and Linfield’s Haiti mission team to a food-packing event in Mira Mesa. They were impressed and helped Lee get the program effort approved and started.
“Providing the space and approval was the easy part; raising the minimum $22,000 was the tough task,” said Charles. “But she did it two years in a row!”
“It started slow,” said Lee, “and fundraising was hard. But this was a tangible way to see and know what you are giving.”
She went to every classroom on the elementary, middle, and high school campuses educating students on the need to feed the hungry children of the world. Her “M&M Fundraiser” consisted of students filling M&M tubes with quarters; a tube would hold 56 quarters ($14); this year they raised $3000.
The busy student/athlete/musician went door-to-door and networked through friends and family asking for donations.
“Doctors, companies, and individuals stepped up to help,” said Lee excitedly. “Last year we raised $24,000 and provided 100,000 meals!”
FMSC recently distributed one million hand-packed meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean who had lost homes, gardens, and food supplies. The organization will distribute 153 million meals worldwide this year. Each meal costs 22 cents to produce and 92 percent of all donations directly support the food program.
FMSC provides guidance and logistics, but all meals are packed by volunteers, who, along with donors, pay for 100 percent of the meals. Although sanctioned by the World Food Program of the United Nations, FMSC receives no government aid.
“My passion for this cause captures me and creates a joy that is indescribable,” said Lee, who is also senior class president this year. “I hope that my mission to spread the knowledge of this cause will bring healthier lives and create a future for the children in need.”
Volunteers and donations are welcome for next year’s effort. Please contact Linfield FMSC Club at firstname.lastname@example.org, (951) 326-0696.