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Alica Lattin, a third grader at St. Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School, has put in more than 72 hours at Feed My Starving Children by volunteering with the organization every week since July. (Submitted photo)

Woodbury girl has a need to feed

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Some of Alicia Lattin’s activities are pretty typical for a third grader – dance and gymnastics – but she has added another activity to her weekly routine: Feed My Starving Children.

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Every week since July, the third grader at St. Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School, along with her parents Margaret and Doug, has volunteered at the Eagan-based organization.

Feed My Starving Children is a nonprofit Christian organization committed to feeding others by hand-packing meals specifically formulated to feed malnourished children. The meals are then shipped to nearly 70 countries around the world.

“We just wanted to try it out,” Alicia said. “It was so much fun that we just got into doing it and kept on doing it.”

“It’s just become a part of our lives,” Doug said of Alicia’s weekly visits.

To date, Alicia has put in more than 72 hours of volunteer time.

“I like how serious she is about it,” Doug said. “She’s trying to do it as quickly as possible and making sure that everything is done right.”

Feeding the children

It was her mother Margaret who first asked Alicia if she wanted to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children after seeing information about the volunteer opportunities online.

During their first trip to Feed My Starving Children, the Lattins not only had a fun time packing the meals, they were able to see a video depicting just where the meals were going.

“(Alicia) felt bad for the kids,” Margaret said. “It made her sad I think that some kids don’t have food.”

Alicia said seeing the children eating “mud biscuits” – mud, water and salt – really hit her hard.

“I think (Feed My Starving Children) helps (Alicia) appreciate more the food that she has,” Margaret said. “She can just walk to the refrigerator and open it up, while others have to eat dirt.”

Alicia had such a great time during her first trip to Feed My Starving Children that she wanted to go again and again. Before long, it turned into a weekly trip for two hour shifts.

During their trips, Alicia and her parents work on a number of different tasks including packing the bags, packing the boxes. Most recently the family has focused on labeling the bags.

“It was kind of hard at first to learn the routine,” Alicia said. “I just kept on getting used to it the more we kept on going.”

The Lattins’ record, with the help of the rest of their table, is 31 boxes with 36 bags in each box.

Each bag of food contains six meals.

In addition to doing her own job, Alicia has also started helping others know what to do.

“Sometimes when other kids go, they are just goofing off and not taking it very seriously, so (Alicia) gets really mad,” Margaret said. “She’ll kind of give me this look and I know, ‘Uh oh – those kids are in trouble.’”

Alicia said she wants to continue going to Feed My Starving Children every week for a “couple years.”

“In a row?” Margaret joked. “We’re trying to see how long we can go before we have to miss.”

“I think dance competitions would probably be the only thing that would prevent us from going,” Doug said.

Both Doug and Margaret said they are proud of Alicia for taking this on all by herself.

“It’s just part of our schedule,” Margaret said. “You have dance, you have gymnastics and now we have Feed.”

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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