May 28th is World Hunger Day, a day to raise awareness of hunger issues. Every day is a day to do something about it. An amazing organization that is doing incredible work to address world hunger is Feed My Starving Children, headquartered in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Over a million volunteers a year in the US pack meals that are sent around the world to feed starving children. This evening I participated in a packing event at the Coon Rapids facility. In an hour and a half about 100 of us packed 26,568 meals that are headed to Honduras.
In addition to having a huge impact on world hunger, Feed My Starving Children is also an outstanding model of servant leadership. One aspect in particular they demonstrate well is what it means to truly serve. Service is often spoken of as simply helping others or doing something nice for them, but service goes deeper than that. When someone grows as a person as a result of our authentic actions we are truly serving.
Helping a child provides them a meal. Serving a child also provides them hope.
One way to distinguish helping from serving is with two little words – “so that.” Those words can help assure that our actions are rooted in purpose, vision and mission.
Service feeds a hungry child so that …
- … so that they can live.
- … so that they can learn.
- … so that they can grow and be productive.
- … so that they can experience the beauty of their world.
- … so that they can serve.
- … so that they can lead.
The FMSC model also benefits the volunteers & staff who prepare and pack the meals.
Service provides opportunities to volunteers and staff so that…
- … so that they gain a better understanding of who they are.
- … so that they feel good about who they are.
- … so that they gain more confidence in their ability to make a difference.
- … so that they can grow as leaders.
Consider the work you do to serve. Are you simply helping or are you truly serving? If you are helping that’s great. I am definitely not saying that helping is wrong. Just be careful however that your helping isn’t actually a disservice. I do challenge you though to go deeper and truly serve. Be clear on your purpose. Take time to reflect on how you would finish this statement, “I am doing this so that …”
Feed My Starving Children is clear on their “so that.” And what a difference their service makes.