Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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October 6, 2012

Many volunteers gather to fill 350,000 meal packets in LaGrange

LaGRANGE —  The rafters were rattling in the 4-H building at the LaGrange County Fairgrounds. Christian rock music played non-stop to motivate hundreds of young church members who made up the majority of the 1,000 volunteers from 20 churches, businesses and organizations from across Michiana. They stood side-by-side in two-hour increments filling 350,000 meal packets for the international charity known as “Feed My Starving Children.”

At the center of the joyous chaos and raucous workers was the spark that has lit this volunteer fire over the last three years, The Rev. Rustin Krapfl. He was running here and there, sporting his hairnet and always smiling. No one really looks good in a hairnet, but when you are among friends — who cares? Definitely the hundreds of hair-net-wearing kids at this event were “friends.”

Rev. Krapfl’s ministers for the Brighton Chapel Church in Howe. Four years ago he found out about the good works of the internationally recognized charity known as Feed My Starving Children. He wanted to get involved. This is his third year of organizing this FMSC Mobile Pak event.

“These people (FMSC) have an excellent system of getting food directly to millions of starving families across the globe and through other charities here in the states,” Krapfl explained as he backed up the fork-lift to scoop up another pallet of packaged meals. He was loading a semi-trailer (the third one that day) sent over by Second Harvest. The pallets were backing up out into the roadway and had to be moved to make way for more. The volunteer juggernaut was pumping out box after box of food at an amazing rate.

Danny Pyne of FMSC led a crew of four paid workers who travel the country setting up these mobile packing events and coordinating the wrapping, shipping and packaging process strictly followed at each location. They really have honed the operation down to a well-tuned production machine.

“Each meal costs .22 cents,” Pyne said. “Each case holds 36 meals and each pallet holds 48 cases. They put out a lot of food at these mobile pack events. The goal for this group is 350,000 meals.”

Putting out a lot of meals each year is not the only goal for Pastor Krapfl. Beyond his goal of a million meals, he eventually wants to build a permanent “processing” facility to handle the ingredients, which are grown locally and used in the meals. His goals are high and he has a lot of local support.

Ten farms in LaGrange County donated a portion of their harvested soy bean crop. Ken and Ingrid Lochamire of Springfield Farms sold “shares” of their yield to individuals to raise funds for the purchase of the ingredients for the 350,000 meals for which Pastor Rustin had committed $77,000.

“We divided up a nine-acre section,” said Ingrid as she adjusted her hairnet and stepped away from the packing line.” Then we broke each acre into eighths which made up 72 shares and we sold those for a donation.” She said the $70 a share was sufficient to cover their costs from tilling to harvest and still make a good contribution.

Nate Mauck is a member if the Brighton Chapel Church in Howe.

“I have volunteered every year,” he said. ”What got me motivated was in the presentation. There was a little boy’s picture. He was the same age as my year-old daughter, at the time. But he only weighed 14 pounds. That really brought it home for me. Lots of area churches send volunteers here every year. It is not much for us to do — to do a great deal of good.”

For more information on FMSC go to their website: www.fmsc.org

To touch base with Pastor Krapfl: www.brightonchapel.com

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The 2014 Elkhart County 4-H Fair kicks off its nine-day run on Friday, July 18. The event is traditionally one of the largest annual events in the state of the Indiana. What is your favorite part of the fair?

The midway rides/games
The vendor exhibits
4-H activities
The musical entertainment
Grandstand events (harness racing/demolition derby/rodeo/tractor pulls)
The food
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