PRESS EDITORIAL: The American spirit in a 22-cent meal

We’re going to cut foreign aid by 30%. We’re going to cut off countries that don’t vote with us in the United Nations from all assistance, including humanitarian aid. 

These threats, though real, are so far just Trump administration bluster, but they add to a growing image of America as seen from abroad as a rich country in the thrall of nationalism and xenophobia turning its back on other nations, including some of the poorest.

A recent survey of 37 nations by the Pew Research Center found that only 49% had a favorable view of the U.S., down from 64% a year ago.

The image by which the U.S. is being judged reflects its leaders’ politics, not the more generous instincts of the American people. If the world could only see what will be going on in Grafton, Wis., on April 13 and 14, that would be obvious.

On Friday and Saturday of next week, hundreds of volunteers will gather at the Portal to pack more than 100,000 meals for distribution to hungry children in 70 countries through the Feed My Starving Children program.

So many volunteers have signed up for this local effort to help feed children in places ravaged by famine, poverty and war that every two-hour work shift for the two-day project is filled. There’s a waiting list of would-be volunteers who want to pitch in. 

Not a government program, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a Minnesota-based charity that has given Americans the opportunity to help the world’s neediest at the most fundamental level—providing hungry people with the basic nourishment needed to survive—through nutritional science and a highly efficient operation in which more than 90% of the financial contributions received are used for food and distribution and 99% of the food gets to the intended destinations. The organization is on course to reach its 2018 goal of distributing one million meals every day of the year.

The secret of the success of this extraordinary humanitarian effort is the FMSC meal, a combination of dried vegetables, soy protein and rice. It is somewhat humbling to learn in this well-fed country where obesity is a far greater health risk than malnutrition that when the dry mix is reconstituted, it is a nutritious meal that will sustain a child, though it surely has fewer calories than an appetizer served at Mar-a-Lago. 

Actually, the meal has exactly 220 calories and costs less than a quarter. 

The Ozaukee County FMSC effort is being led by St. John XXIII Catholic Parish headquartered in Port Washington. Besides recruiting volunteers (given the number of people standing in line to help, this seems to be the easy part of the project), local organizers have to raise around $22,000 to pay for the meal ingredients at the rate of about 22 cents per serving. So far, they’ve received about $15,000 in donations. For information about making a financial contribution, or signing up for the waiting list to give hands-on help, contact

Whether the contribution is money or manual labor, helping this cause is a uniquely effective way for generous people to make a direct impact for the better on the lives of fellow human beings, the youngest and most vulnerable of them, in faraway lands. 

And it is a way of saying that Americans are not a people who abide disdain for the world’s needy as a show of nationalistic swagger.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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