One of my motherâ€™s favorite sayings when we were young was that, â€œmany hands make light work.â€
Along those same lines, our youngest son believes work isnâ€™t work at all if you have â€œtunesâ€ playing in the background.
On April 2, in the Grand Forks Public Works Building off Gateway Drive, we had both hands-a-many and music!
During our 2-hour shift 182 pairs of very busy hands made â€œlight workâ€ of packaging food and at the same time all those ears heard such songs as Stayinâ€™ Alive,â€ by the Bee Gees. How appropriate â€“ since we were doing something that helps starving children in 70 countries around the world â€œstay alive.â€
When our oldest son, Troy, his wife Sheri, and grandchildren, Elyn, 8, and Ethan, 6 were here that weekend, we all took part in Grand Forksâ€™ Feed My Starving Children mobile pack event.
FMSC is a Christian organization that provides life-saving meals to people whose homelands are affected by natural disaster and economic despair. The meals are distributed in thoseÂ countries through missionary partnerships at orphanages, schools, clinics, refugee camps and malnourishment centers.
Taking part in this was old hat to Elyn and Ethan as they had done this before in the Twin Cities with Elynâ€™s Brownie Troop.
After an orientation by a FMSC representative, everyone donned a hairnet, plastic gloves, and gathered at the work stations. One person would open the small plastic bags and hold them under a spout while others around the assembly-line measured chicken powder, dried veggies, soy and rice that were poured into a funnel only to fall into the plastic bags. The final step was weighing and sealing the bags.
It all went like clockwork and everybody had to be on their toes as the process moves rapidly. One of Elynâ€™s jobs was to open the plastic bags without letting her fingers touch the inside and promptly place the bags under the funnel so the others could toss in the four ingredients. There is tremendous camaraderie at something like this and I like looking around to see and watch the exuberance of the people.
Elyn was a smiling but firm taskmaster. If, for example, the vegetable scooper was distracted by the goings on and not dumping her scoopful into the funnel in a timely manner, Elyn would offer a gentle reminder by saying, â€œvegetable lady!â€ That snapped the vegetable lady back to reality. We rotated jobs and Ethan was really good at pressing down on the lever to seal the bags.
When it was all said and done our shift packaged 31,968 meals that were placed in 148 boxes. It was enough to feed 87 children for an entire year. Jodie Storhaug, whose dream it was to bring this event to Grand Forks, tells me that over the weekend 1,372 volunteers worked eight two-hour shifts. The goal had been to package 270,864 meals but in the end, 287,928 meals were packaged â€“ enough to feed 788 children for a year.
No wonder we were singing along to other music playing by Christian artists, Chris Tomlin and â€œSing, Sing, Sing,â€ and Paul Balocheâ€™s â€œHosanna.â€ How could we not?
Hear the sound of hearts returning to You, we turn to You
In Your Kingdom broken lives are made new, You make us new
â€˜Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away, washed away.
Hosanna, hosanna, You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises. Hosanna, hosanna, come have your way among us. We welcome You here, Lord Jesus
After the work was done and on our way out the mammoth door, people were invited to sign a huge banner on the wall with the words from Proverbs 22:9: Blessed are those who are generous because they feed the poor.
It was a good day — such a good, good day!