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Then Just Feed One Feeds Millions

September 12, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

by Darren Fraser

Each bag provides six meals. Thirty-six bags to a box. 14,000 meals boxed and plastic wrapped to a pallet. At a price of 16 cents per meal.

Dick Seivert runs the Then Just Feed One charity. At last Wednesday's packing event at the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds, Then Just Feed One's goal was to fill, box, pallet and truck-out 80,000 meals during the four hours the nearly 100 volunteers, working in four, one-hour shifts, measured, sifted, poured and sealed.

Article Photos

JUST FEED EVEN THE LITTLE ONES - Addison Rehm, six, was one of the many volunteers to fill bags during the annual Just Feed One event last Wednesday at the fairgrounds. Addison celebrated her sixth birthday by filling the 13.8 ounce bags with rice, soy, vegetables, and powder broth. More photos on page 2. --Darren Fraser photo

The journey from the packing to the recipient is long and costly.

Seivert rents Dole Company cargo containers which he fills with pallets of meals. Each container can hold 20 pallets. The containers' ultimate destination is Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Ensuring the containers reach their destination is a well-choreographed ballet that includes many players. Trucks from RWI Trucking transport the containers from Then Just Feed One's Lemars' warehouse to Gulfport, Mississippi. There, the containers are loaded onto a Dole cargo ship bound for Honduras.

Seivert says it costs Then Just Feed One $45,000 to transport one container. The money comes from the sale of the meals four cents out of the price of each bag goes toward the cost of transportation -- and the money volunteers donate in order to participate in packing events.

Once loaded on the ship, the container embarks on the one-week journey to Puerta Castilla, Honduras. The containers remain idle for an average of three weeks while waiting to clear Honduran customs.

From Puerta Castilla, the pallets are loaded onto trucks and transported to the Cerro de Plata Foundation in Tegucigalpa, the capital.

The workers at the foundation then disseminate the meals to different regions in the country.

Last year, Then Just Feed One churned out 1.24 million meals at packing events. Bruce Nelson has been involved with Then Just Feed One for seven years. Nelson ensures the events run smoothly.

There were 10 tables in last Wednesday's event with eight to ten volunteers to a table. Volunteers used measuring cups to measure out the correct amounts of soy, rice, dried vegetables and broth mix that go into each bag. Once filled, the bag was given to another volunteer to seal. When sealed, the bag was deposited into a cardboard box.

Then Just Feed One is just one of the charities Seivert runs. Seivert comes off as soundly practical in conversation. He does soften when he discusses the individuals who benefit from meals. "Some of these people are literally starving," he says softly.

The organization's name is taken from a Mother Teresa quote: "If you cannot feed a hundred people, then just feed one." According to the organization's website, "In summer 2013 the National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Honduras reported that an estimated 5,889,545 Hondurans live in poverty. That figure represents 69 percent of the country's population of 8.5 million. A total of 4,213,746 Hondurans, or 50 percent of the population, live in 'extreme' poverty. A total of 1,995,200 Hondurans live on less than Lps 20.42 (US $1.00) per day."

At 4:55 p.m. last Wednesday, Seivert announced the first shift had filled 21,000 bags. The volunteers let out a hearty cheer.



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