This first-person account is part of a regular series of how Counterpart works in the field. This story is by Russell Bernstein, Senior Program Manager for Humanitarian Assistance.

Each year, Counterpart’s Humanitarian Assistance practice area receives and ships millions of dollars’ worth of donated items to serve the most at-risk populations worldwide. We partner with US- and

international-based partners to acquire and distribute these donated items. Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a faith-based organization committed to feeding the world’s starving children, is one such organization.

Over the last year and a half, Counterpart has shipped eight containers of FMSC’s MannaPack Rice,worth $468,000, to Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Senegal. MannaPack Rice is composed of a mixture of rice, soy

nuggets, vitamins, minerals and dehydrated vegetables that is fed to malnourished children.

On January 28 – 29, I attended the annual FMSC Partner Conference in Miami, Florida. This conference brought together many of FMSC’s 90 partner organizations to share successes from the past years, and learn about n

ew initiatives and products for the upcoming year.

On the second day of the conference, I had the opportunity to hear presentations directly from a few of FMSC’s partners. Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization’s (ECHO) discussion on small farm agriculture drew the largest response from attendees. ECHO researches new ways to grow food under difficult conditions – on rooftops, in extreme heat or extreme drought. Their web site serves as an online portal to house all their research and findings.

The two-day event was a great opportunity to learn and network with organizations that have similar humanitarian initiatives. Donor organizations, like Feed My Starving Children, are an integral part to Counterpart’s Humanitarian Assistance work for the world’s most at-risk populations.