Most USA CUP teams head home immediately after their final game. But the Haitian Initiative team that won gold and silver medals during the 2013 tournament, stayed on with their homestay families in the Twin Cities for several weeks after the tournament.
On July 31, the team volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, a Minnesota-based non-profit that sends millions of meals to more than 70 countries around the world, including Haiti.
The team volunteered to pack the very same meals that they depend on for survival back home, completing a give-back that was unique for both USA CUP and FMSC.
The Haitian Initiative is a school-based soccer program in City Soleil, a community of 300,000 in Port au Prince, regarded as the poorest and most dangerous area in Haiti. Haitian Initiative gives more than a hundred impoverished children a chance to attend class, play sports and receive a meal each day.
The USA CUP appearance by this U14 team was made possible by three different Minnesota organizations who collaborated to make their tournament visit possible:
Healing Haiti, which pays for meal shipping and provides secure delivery of the food to the soccer team as part of a wider feeding program in City Soleil;
The Sanneh Foundation of St. Paul, founded by USA CUP alum Tony Sanneh, provides the equipment, curriculum and training for the team; and
Latitude, which helps fund many of the program’s expenses.
The team will packed a meal called MannaPack™ Rice, a nutritionally complete meal formulated in 1993 by food scientists with Cargill and General Mills to reverse and prevent malnutrition. It consists of rice, extruded soy for protein, dehydrated vegetables, and a flavoring fortified with 20 vitamins and minerals.
“It is a privilege for us to welcome young people who depend on our food, to pack life-giving meals for others who desperately need this nutrition,” said Mark Crea, Executive Director/CEO of Feed My Starving Children
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