2017–2019 Mission Grant: Providing Food and the Gospel to Starving Children — Mercy Meals of Siouxland, $40,000

Mercy Meals — Providing Food and the Gospel to Starving Children

By Larry Jones, Director, Mercy Meals of Siouxland, with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

Mercy Meals of Siouxland is a ministry of Faith Lutheran Church in Sioux City, Iowa. Community volunteers, in an assembly-line process, package fortified rice/soy meals that are shipped to hungry and starving children throughout the U.S. and the world.

Most of the packaging events are held in the parish hall at Faith Lutheran Church. Mercy Meals are packaged using a scientifically designed formula that meets the needs of malnourished children. Each bag contains six nutritious meals consisting of rice, soy, dried vegetables, and a vitamin-mineral powder. The bags are filled with the ingredients, weighed, and sealed.

All of the meals packaged by Mercy Meals of Siouxland are donated to Orphan Grain Train in Norfolk, Nebraska. Orphan Grain Train delivers the meals in the U.S. and worldwide at their cost. The meals are put into the hands of the children and families by a Christian organization so the children and their families hear about Jesus as well as receive nutritious food. In most cases, the meals are cooked by volunteers and served to the children.

Mercy Meals of Siouxland is one of 11 sites that package fortified rice/soy meals and donate them to Orphan Grain Train; other packaging sites are located in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

Orphan Grain Train delivered fortified rice/soy meals to the following locations in 2018: 71,280 to the Bread of Life Orphanage in Bucharest, Romania; 536,544 to Haiti; 189,450 to Liberia; 28,512 to Katanga, Congo; 634,092 to the Philippines; 20,088 to the Ysleta Lutheran Missions, El Paso, Texas; 71,280 to Puerto Rico; 141,480 to India; and 64,152 to Chongwe, Zambia.

One of the projects regularly receiving fortified meals is the Smokey Mountain Project, located in a garbage dump near Manilla, Philippines. Some of the people who live in the dump are 1,500 farm families whose land quit producing. The farmers moved their entire families into the dump and built their homes there. As garbage is brought into the dump, the families go out to rummage for items they can eat, use, or sell. Thankfully, Christian volunteers prepare fortified rice/soy meals and deliver them to the children in the compound. The children go through a feeding line to get their one nutritious meal a day. 

We want to express our gratitude to women of the LWML for awarding Mercy Meals of Siouxland an LWML Mission Grant at the 2017 LWML Convention in Albuquerque. Your generosity allows us to package and donate thousands of Mercy Meals to feed the bodies and souls of hungry children, including those in the Smokey Mountain Project. We are also blessed by LWML women who come to package meals as individuals and in groups, often times, bringing children, husbands, and friends with them. 

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This story was originally featured in the Summer 2019 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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