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Wisconsin potato industry works to feed starving children

June 10, 2014 | 0 comments


Making a commitment to alleviate world hunger, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA) are once again sponsoring a potato-meal packing event to help feed hungry children all over the globe.

Following highly successful events the past three years, members of the Wisconsin potato industry along with their families and friends, will gather at the Noel Hangar at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport on Saturday, June 21 to pack 100,000 servings of MannaPack™ Potato meals, developed by the non-profit Christian charitable organization, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC).

MannaPack Potato servings are formulated to prevent starvation in children using dehydrated potatoes, vitamins and minerals. Approximately $22,000 was raised to fund the 100,000 meal packs.

"The MannaPacks were created to be easily digested by young malnourished children," said Ali Carter, a member of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary board of directors and event coordinator. "In particular the Potato-W formula we are packing at the event supplies that very needed nourishment when other forms of food, including the MannaPack Rice formula, are not an option. This is an incredible opportunity to come together as an industry and as a community to impact the lives of these children in a profound way."

Carter said the ingredients are purchased entirely through the generosity of donors. With each FMSC meal costing only 22 cents to produce, and 92 percent of all donations going directly to the feeding program, gifts of all sizes go a long way in the fight against world hunger. A total of 320 volunteers will be working two-hour shifts throughout the day.

"Giving the gift of your time is very rewarding," said Paula Houlihan, vice president of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary and event coordinator. "It's a simple, but powerful process. We offer volunteers the choice of where they want to donate their time, whether it's filling bags, sealing packs, refilling ingredients or stacking filled boxes for shipping. We also continuously show a video from FMSC about the potato packs and stories about the children who benefit from them. It's very moving."

Members of the Wisconsin potato industry have been strong supporters of the FMSC meal packing program since the idea was introduced here two years ago. Mike Carter, CEO of Bushmans', Inc., Rosholt, heard about the program through the United States Potato Board, and has spearheaded the fundraising efforts in Wisconsin.

"We are thankful to the WPVGA and the Auxiliary for priming the pump for this important event," Carter said. "Bushmans', Inc. will continue to support this event and we are grateful for all the other potato industry members who participate financially as well as through volunteering. This event really shines a spotlight on the generous nature of our industry."

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