12 Questions You Should Be Asking About Food Paks
If you have been around Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF) for any amount of time, you have heard about Food Paks. We build them, pack them, tape them up, and ship them out.
We pray for our ministry partners as they receive them and deliver them to children in need, opening doors for hope.
But what are they?
Here are 12 questions to unpack the topic.
1. What is a Food Pak?
A Food Pak is a cardboard box. Volunteers fill thousands of them with food, and then they are delivered to children and families in need, such as Patricia and her son Eddy. Food Paks are shipped out from one of our distribution centers to our ministry partners around the U.S. and across the globe.
2. What kinds of food goes into a Food Pak?
We fill the boxes with nutritious, non-perishable staple foods. For instance, we start with rice and/or pasta. Then we add beans, often pinto or black. We finish off the packing with canned vegetables, canned meat, or other items.
For Food Paks that will be delivered to homes in the U.S., we have freedom to add other items. But when we ship Food Paks overseas, we have to meet international standards, and, as a result, every box must contain the same items, even down to the level of having the same labels on the cans.
3. How much does a Food Pak weigh?
Over the years, we’ve learned that a well packed box usually weights around 20 pounds; but that’s just an average. The Food Pak box is built tough and could hold upwards of 65 pounds of food. But we want to guarantee that they show up in one piece to the home of that family in need, whether they live down the street or on the other side of the globe. So, we don’t push the boxes to their limit.
4. How many Food Paks fit on one pallet?
We put 119 Food Paks on each pallet. For an international shipment, we can usually fit fifteen pallets in a sea container. That’s 1,785 Food Paks, which is around 85,680 meals on one shipping container!
5. When was the first Food Pak used?
Dave Phillips, the Founder and President of Children’s Hunger Fund, first decided to deliver food in cardboard boxes in 1998. These first boxes were called “Care Packages.” In 2003, we started calling them “Food Paks.”
6. Why is there a heart on the Food Pak?
When Dave Phillips was asked to explain the mission of CHF in the simplest terms, he said, “I want to impact the heart of a child in need.” With that in mind, in 2013, hundreds of children from around the world drew hearts and sent their drawing to CHF. But these were not just any kids. These children received food from CHF.
After all the drawings were in, we chose the heart drawn by Audrey App of Chicago, IL. When Audrey was asked what a heart on the box meant to her, she said, “It’s like giving love to the children by feeding them.”
7. Why is there a large, empty square printed on the top?
On the top of the Food Pak, there is a large, blue-bordered label. It is there for organizations to use. When a pastor or volunteer delivers a Food Pak, they can write their name or their church’s name so that the recipient family knows who the food is from.
8. What do the blue lines stand for?
The two lines represent food and the gospel. Some organizations provide food for hungry children. Other organizations are committed to proclaiming the gospel. And both of these types of organizations are wonderful and necessary. However, we’re committed to doing both, in a balanced way, and doing them well. That’s what makes us unique.
9. How many languages are printed on a Food Pak?
Seven. There is mostly English on the box. But if you look closely, you will see that there are biblical passages in six other languages. On one side you’ll find English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Thai. On the other side, English, Nepalese, Shona, and Russian. Shona is spoken in Zimbabwe.
10. How many Food Paks have been delivered to children and families in need?
In 2014, 89,342 Food Paks were delivered to the homes of hungry children and families in the U.S. and around the world. Those boxes provided 4,288,416 meals! That’s enough meals to feed every single person in Los Angeles, CA, once.
11. How are these boxes delivered?
We distribute Food Paks to our Mercy Network partners. These churches and organizations are committed to deliver the Paks to the homes of children and families in need within their communities. When a pastor or trained volunteer brings food to a hungry person’s door, it’s an opportunity to deliver hope, build a caring relationship, and share the gospel, the true source of everlasting hope.
12. Why isn’t “Children’s Hunger Fund” on the Food Pak?
Actually it is, but you won’t see it unless you look on the bottom of the box. Why do we put it there? When a hungry child receives food from a Food Pak box, we don’t want the attention to go to us. We want to foster the relationship between the local church volunteer delivering the Food Pak and those receiving it.
Many times, families we serve don’t even know who Children’s Hunger Fund is. But they know the name of the person who has been faithfully bringing them boxes of food. We want them to know that person and, through that caring relationship, come to know the love of God.
Have a question about Food Pak boxes? Or have a story to share about one? Would your church, company, or group like to get involved with a Project Food Pak? Contact us.
Better still, volunteer at one of our three locations and join in the excitement of delivering hope to suffering children.