FMSC Disaster Relief Efforts for the Philippines

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UPDATE - DECEMBER 20, 2013

A month has come and gone since typhoon Haiyan permanently changed the landscape and lives of thousands in the Philippines. What I call the “first phase of response”, or relief efforts, was launched by our distribution partners already working there. More than three million FMSC meals were immediately distributed to help people survive. The meals were already there. Some designated for disaster response and some to support ongoing programs. The important thing is that they were there and ready—both the meals and our partners.

The “second phase” has also been launched. FMSC is in the process of keeping its promise to prioritize disaster relief containers. Twenty containers have been designated to replenish those depleted stocks and establish the bridge from relief to rehabilitation. At this bridge some questions come up. These questions don’t have easy answers. The questions will be asked away from a shifting world’s attention. That attention holds the difference, for those left helpless, between realized hope and only having the memory of what was lost. This difference is a dangerous place to be.  No one can remain there.  All must move on.  Moving requires help.

Some dangerous questions are:

          - How long do we keep our focus on the Philippines and balance that with world-wide needs?
          -
How do we determine and support resources our partners can really make a difference with?
          -
How do we continue to make appeals, without guilt, that support years of rehabilitation?
          -
How do we not forget Haiyan’s victims when the next disaster strikes?

I wouldn’t say that anyone has good answers to these questions. I think at this point in time the most dangerous thing to do is not ask the questions. If we don’t ask, we won’t have the need for answers.

Haiyan gives us that unique opportunity to think and act upon these and other questions. I think that is what God wants all of us, donors, volunteers, and staff, to do. Ask and I believe He will supply the resources and resilience for the task at hand. So please come along as we continue the journey. It will make a difference now and the next time disaster visits those we care for.

"At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says the LORD.  Zephaniah 3:20

Matt Muraski
Director of International Programs
Feed My Starving Children


NOVEMBER 22, 2013--Most of us have never been in a typhoon, hurricane, or tornado. To say that you couldn’t imagine what it would be like wouldn’t do justice to those who have had that terrifying experience. The storm, (Typhoon Haiyan) has passed but, in a sense, is still raging as people grieve, salvage what is left, and do the only thing they can do: move forward. Read more.

After events like Haiyan, moving forward requires help. Many emails have been exchanged in the last week between FMSC and our Philippine-focused partners. They have communicated their short-term food aid needs and are still assessing future needs as the recovery progresses. The FMSC team of donors, volunteers, and staff has responded in an “all hands on deck” fashion. Additional containers above what was already scheduled for the Philippines have been or soon will be shipped. Some of these containers are to replace food that was in-country and used for the immediate response, while others were requested to meet an increase in demand for affected regions. More help will be needed. We’ll stay close to our partners as they take each step on the recovery journey.

So far, FMSC has:

  • Distributed 3.3 million meals through our embedded distribution partner network, meals that were already in-country or “on the water” in route.
  • Worked closely with our three largest volume Philippine partners to organize the next wave of food aid.
  • Designated 20 additional containers (or 5.4 million meals) for Typhoon Haiyan relief operations.
  • Commenced the shipping process which will include all 7 FMSC facilities. The first shipments will occur in November and all 20 will be launched by the end of December.

So for today, we’ll remain in the storm with our partners. We’ll be here, as our Lord would want us to be, packing food, telling the stories, looking and listening for the time, place, and direction of the next steps forward.

As we act to help those in the Philippines, let us also pray for those affected by the recent tornadoes in the US. The storm is still raging for these people. 

"And the God of all grace, who called you to eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered for a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast."-  1 Peter 5:10

Matt Muraski
Director of International Programs
Feed My Starving Children


NOVEMBER 15, 2013-- One week after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the central islands of the Philippines, the disaster failed to make the front page of a nationally distributed newspaper, except for a small mention in the “what’s inside". Even in this section it was the fifth topic down behind other news items.As time advances so does the world’s attention, which tends to rearrange urgency. Read more.

As appointed caregivers by the Lord, we are called to remain steadfast and in place when our brothers and sisters, in far of countries, face events like Haiyan. Being in place doesn’t mean there isn’t motion. Even before the typhoon made landfall, FSMC was monitoring Haiyan’s path. Emails were sent to distribution partners working in the central islands and to our friends on the island of Marinduque,  where FMSC is engaged in a long term sustainability project. Assuring them as the monster storm approached, that we knew of the coming danger, that we were thinking of them and praying for them, and that we would be there, on the other side of the storm.

The following Monday after the storm was a busy one at FMSC. Emails and phone calls were coming into the Department of International Programs. Initial assessments were being made by our partners. Thankfully, we have three high-volume partners operating in the Philippines who are able to respond to disasters of this magnitude. Convoy of Hope, International Care Ministries, and Risen Savior Missions make up what we call the “Big 3”. They are well-run organizations that have large scale feeding programs in the Philippines. All three responded to the need for disaster assistance by immediately deploying millions of meals previously planned for use in feeding centers, schools, and clinics. All three did so with the assurance that FMSC would immediately respond by launching replacement containers. This level of trust between our organizations will feed thousands, instill some degree of stability, and generate a hope that must seem distant right now.

We have been “in place” before, after the earthquake in Haiti and tsunami in Asia. We have been tested in balancing our response to the urgent while continuing our work supporting a global partner network. I know we are capable because the Lord is always in front of us, leading. So it’s important to remain in place, yet moving, not letting attention wane for the Philippines and continuing to work for partners contending with many quieter and smaller disasters; some of them one-person disasters. 

I send a sincere thank you to the volunteers and donors that give their time, resources and hearts to make it possible to reach outward so that others can move forward. Know that our partners in the Philippines appreciate all of you as we help them not only in this time of relief, but as they help thousands of Filipinos journey towards the horizon of recovery.  

More details will follow in the near future. Until then please keep them on top of your prayer list, and know that we, they still need your help! Please donate today to help supply additional meals to the Philippines.

“But you O Lord do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!” - Psalm 22:19

Matt Muraski
Director of International Programs
Feed My Starving Children


NOVEMBER 11, 2013--On Friday, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. This storm is possibly the strongest recorded in history.

Half a million MannaPack™ meals from Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) are already being distributed to Typhoon Haiyan survivors in the Philippines, and additional 2.5 million meals have been requested by humanitarian organizations working in the region. The Philippines is the third-largest recipient of meals from Feed My Starving Children on an ongoing basis. Read more.

With three partners working in the Philippines every day, our food can quickly get where it’s needed most when disaster strikes,” says Matt Muraski, Director of International Programs at Feed My Starving Children. “All three partners are mobilizing their meal inventories for this disaster, and two of them—Convoy of Hope and Risen Savior Missions— have asked us to ship at least nine additional cargo containers, or 2.5 million meals, as soon as possible.”

Muraski says he expects the requests to climb as partners of FMSC assess the need. Typhoon Haiyan roared through the central Philippines for 48 hours over the weekend, reportedly killing 10,000 people, leaving 600,000 displaced, and destroying rice and coconut crops that will take months, if not years, to replace.

Not only is there an urgent need for short-term food relief, but also for long-term supplies as Filipinos rebuild their local food sources,” says Muraski. “For months to come, Feed My Starving Children will need volunteer meal-packers and generous donors to meet increased need from the Philippines, while continuing to serve nearly 50 other nations where we have promised meals this year.”

We’re a Christian non-profit based in Minnesota that welcomes and serves all people! We buy raw ingredients for nutritious meals, designed by food scientists to reverse and prevent malnutrition. Then each year, 650,000 volunteers like you pack the rice, soy nuggets, dried vegetables and vitamins into shippable “MannaPack” pouches, shipped free to mission partners and agencies that help people in 70 countries around the world.


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