While World Food Day is officially Oct. 16, about 1,400 youngsters and adults celebrated the St. Louis version by packaging 200,000 ready-to-eat rice/soy protein meals in the multipurpose center at John Burroughs School in Ladue Friday.
These nutritious ready meals will be boxed and shipped to provide staples for malnourished youngsters in the Republic of Tanzania in eastern Africa.
This was all thought up by an enterprising junior Don Soffer of John Burroughs. He and his mother have provided the time and sweat equity to make a difference in so many lives. They gathered the support of Schnucks Market personnel to join the effort.
Doug Pitt, brother of actor Brad Pitt came from Springfield, MO lent support. Pitt is an Ambassador of Goodwill to Tanzania and has helped support numerous water projects in this emerging country.
In the evening Friday, numerous high school students did their part during a Packaging Rally. Both adults and children paid a participation fee to support these efforts. Money raised was used to air freight the product to Africa.
Here’s how Soffer looked at the whole effort.
Soffer got started by helping take part in a similar effort at the Donald Danforth Plant Life Science Center in Creve Coeur. “In the third year, we had the opportunity to have this (effort) at John Burroughs and have another great year for St. Louis.
“It has been amazing to see St. Louis kids from all over the metro area come out and do this for the children of Tanzania.”
“It is a lot of work, but the output is amazing. The whole process of working together from all over the area is really rewarding.”
Fifteen schools took part in the Packaging Rally. That included, but was not limited to: Burroughs, MICDS, Ladue, Clayton, Eureka, Parkway South and a whole lot more. Some of the elementary schools included Forsyth Academy in Clayton and St. Peters in Kirkwood, La Salle Academy in the City and others.
“We’ve been working like crazy the last two months to get this organized,” said Soffer. “We had a very short period of time to get 1,400 volunteers and package all of these resources.
“It is nice to see all the enthusiasm for World Food Day. I keep saying I am the poster child for World Food Day St. Louis and my mom, Mary Beth does all the work.”
Go to the official Facebook page if you would like to donate or take part in future activities.