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Feeding Children, Fueling A Mission

October 25, 2009, 10:00 PM by Kelli Grant

Feeding Children, Fueling A Mission
Every six seconds a child dies from malnutrition in this world. And child hunger doesn't just extend beyond this country's borders - it's happening right here in KELOLAND. One man's mission to end child hunger has come to Sioux Falls, and many of you are helping him make a difference.

It's a bustling night at Kids Against Hunger in Sioux Falls. It's a scene that's playing out all over the country, but here it's new.

“I'm the 64th satellite. And each little satellite does their own thing, kind of like we're doing here tonight," Founder of the Sioux Falls satellite of Kids Against Hunger Darrel Johnson said.

Darrel Johnson brought Kids Against Hunger here to KELOLAND in August. He's following a Minnesota man's mission to feed children all over the world. 

Ten years ago, Richard Proudfit founded the organization after a mission trip to Honduras.

“He went down there and he was going to feed the kids and he brought 10 thousand tootsie rolls and when he got down there he realized that the kids didn't need tootsie rolls. What they really needed was substantial food,” Johnson said.

And substantial food is now what they're getting. General Mills, Cargill, and Pillsbury worked together to create a nutritious, healthy packaged meal that can feed and entire family.

“It's cooked with six cups of water and it makes serving for six people,” Johnson said.

The meals these USF students are packaging will feed hundreds and hundreds of school children in Haiti.  They are faces Pam Plasier knows all too well.

“It took us a couple years before I caught on that the kids were suffering form malnutrition,” Plasier said.

Plasier founded a school in Haiti several years ago. Since then, this KELOLAND woman and her family have been working hard to not only teach but to feed them. Thanks to Kids Against Hunger she now has no worries.

“I think it's an answer to prayer honestly because we had an experience last year where we ran out of food cause we ran out of money. And so come the beginning of May and our school goes through June 15th - we were done," Plasier said.

Plasier says to get a shipment of food from Sioux Falls to Haiti, through customs and transported to the villages, it costs about $10,000.

“All the ingredients and the freight and everything down to Haiti, it costs $1.48 to send that package down there or about 23 cents a meal,” Johnson said.

It's a price USF student Tina Spade knows needs to be paid, with not only money, but time.

“I've gone on mission trips before. I've gone to Jamaica a couple times but I haven't really done anything locally. And this was an opportunity to do that. To be able to send something instead of always being the one sent,” Spade said.

So Spade and 50 or 60 of her peers from the University put on their hair nets and measured each nutritious ingredient by hand, packaging and boxing with love. And you can help do the same.

“If people come in and have a good time and they leave some money behind, I'll just buy more rice and more protein,” Johnson said.

The ingredients and packaging supplies are all purchased through donations. Johnson says in lieu of anniversary or birthday presents, people are coming here and giving their time and money.

It's a gift that kids here in KELOLAND and kids around the world will surely eat up.

“We've also just sent a large shipment to the Wahpeton Sioux Tribe in North Dakota for their child protection agency up there,” Johnson said.

School Bus Inc in Sioux Falls has donated a school bus that will be filled with the food, driven down to Miami, put on a boat to Haiti, and will arrive right around Christmas to help feed hungry children.

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