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Philanthropic undertaking set to begin

Some 1,200 local volunteers have signed up to take part in Feed My Starving Children this week in the St. Bridget Parish School gym.

This is the third straight year River Falls has joined in supporting Feed My Starving Children, a global network that involves packaging basic meals and shipping them abroad to those hungry and malnourished.

The late Jim Dieck got the movement organized in River Falls.

Last year 1,100 volunteers packaged 263,000 meals and raised $42,500 to pay for the effort. Each meal cost just 17 cents, so it's estimated that the River Falls effort fed 722 kids for a whole year.

The 2009 Feed My Starving Children has set a similar goal for meals and fundraising. However, about $16,000 still must be raised in order to cover the cost for food ingredients and shipping.

"We encourage the entire community to stop by to learn more," said Dave Van Gelder, a key organizer. "All donations are greatly appreciated. Ninety-four cents of every dollar becomes food for the starving.

"FMSC is an extremely financially efficient organization, which is why we've chosen to partner with them."

Each specially formulated packaged meal is made up of rice, soy nuggets, 20 vitamins and minerals with vegetarian chicken flavor, and dehydrated vegetables

Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is a Christian nonprofit hunger-relief organization.

Last year it claimed to harness the labors of 310,000 volunteers to hand pack 73.6 million meals that got distributed to children in more than 60 countries.

For more information, go to

Those spearheading the local Feed My Starving Children effort are Van Gelder, Brenda Derks and Steve Linehan.

Volunteers work two-hour shifts to package ingredients for the meals.

Shifts for the food packaging at St. Bridget's are 1-3p.m., 4-6 p.m., and 7-9 p.m. this Thursday; same times for Friday; and 9-11 a.m., noon to 2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Saturday.

To give for FMSC, make checks payable to: Starving-River Falls. Checks can be dropped off or mailed to St. Bridget Catholic Church/211 E. Division St./River Falls, WI 54022.

Donations can also be processed online by going to