The 13th Annual Packing Hope program at St. Elizabeth Seton Elementary School, Rapid City, took place on March 9. Administrators at the Rapid City Catholic School System started the working with Packing Hope to answer Christ’s call to bring hope to the poor and vulnerable. Each student, grades prek-eighth and the sophomore class donate $30 to help pay for the meals. The younger kids are encouraged to work at home to earn the money they donate. In addition to the donation each, the sophomores also speak and collect donations at our local parishes.
Since the inaugural event in 2008, the RCCSS has packed and shipped over 1,300,000 meals. In 2020, the funds were raised, but covid prevented the students from participating in a packing event that year. In 2021, in lieu of a packing event, $10,000 of what was raised in 2020 was donated to Feed Just One.
Traditionally, students raise an average of $20,000 dollars and pack an average of 114,000 meals at 17.5 cents per meal. This year that number was surpassed with students packing 131,544 meals.
The meal packs are specially formulated by food scientists to provide a well-balanced meal of easily digestible proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates, and twenty-one vitamins and minerals ideal for meeting the specific nutritional and developmental needs of those who are malnourished. The food packs have a shelf life of three years, contain six meals, and require only boiling water for preparation.
The food is distributed to schools, orphanages, elderly homes, and mountainous villages in amounts that provide those who receive it with meals for a period of time, giving them hope for strength, growth, and healing.
The RCCSS has been working with Then Feed Just One since 2007 when Richard Sievert and his brother Francis Sievert traveled to Rapid City to share their program with the RCCSS faculty and students. Within weeks of their presentation, we assembled a team of admin, teachers, and a student to travel to LeMars, Iowa, to witness a packing event. The following year, our RCCSS K-12th graders raised the necessary funds, TFJO hauled the bulk ingredients and equipment to Rapid City, and we held our first packing event.
The Seivert brothers spend a great deal of time on the ground in Honduras and have many connections that ensure the food makes it into the hands of those in greatest need. For several years, STM HS students teamed up with Mission Honduras LeMars, another non-profit organization headed up by the Seivert brothers, and traveled to Honduras for the purpose of working on water projects that provided fresh water to mountainous villages.
Then Feed Just One (https://www.thenfeedjustone.org) is a non-profit, mobile-food-packing organization located in LeMars that distributes highly nutritious food to those suffering from hunger and malnutrition in Honduras and around the world.