A&E Exclusive: Crystal D Dedicates Over 10 Years to Fighting Childhood Hunger

An inside look at the company's decade-long efforts to give back to children in need.

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Crystal D, Feed My Starving Children
Crystal D, Feed My Starving Children

For more than 10 years, Crystal D has been fighting childhood hunger in partnership with Feed My Starving Children-a local non-profit committed to feeding kids in need from across the globe.

Comprised of over 60 employees, the entire company participates each year, packaging meals specifically formulated for malnourished children to ship around the world. September 22 marked the 11th year the company volunteered their time and efforts, manning stations to create MannaPacks-a biblical reference to the “bread of heaven” provided to the Israelites during their travels in the desert. Each Mannapack consists of rice, soy nuggets, freeze-dried vegetables, and a protein powder with vegetable flavoring, and contains six meals for a single person.

According to Crystal D Marketing Coordinator Jen Jezierski, the company volunteers packed 148 boxes of MannaPacks totaling 33,744 meals that will feed roughly 92 children every day for a full year.

Over 10 years ago, a friend of Crystal D President Chuck Dahlgren first recommended Feed My Starving Children as a way for the company to give back.

“Helping children, especially hungry children, is something that makes us feel good,” Jezierski tells A&E magazine. “This particular event also allows us to work together as a team. We have a friendly competition to see which team can fill the most packs, so we work very quickly. We keep increasing the amount of boxes we pack, which increases the amount of kids we help feed!”

The annual event is one that Crystal D employees look forward to all year. “Our employees love this event, so I believe we will continue doing this for many years to come,” she says. “Having fun as a company and building a stronger bond with our coworkers all while helping children around the world is something we enjoy doing every year.”

Although the company can never see the direct impact of its efforts over the years, there is solace in knowing how much the employees have contributed to the lives of children in need overseas, reflected in the organization’s website. “Seeing pictures and hearing stories about children suffering due to lack of food is heartbreaking. But we know that in the 11 years we’ve been volunteering at FMSC, we’ve packed around 300,000 meals, which fed over 800 children,” Jezierski explains. “That’s over 800 lives we’ve helped save.”

While the company’s efforts at Feed My Starving Children benefit a global community, Crystal D does not count those hours into the company’s ambitious annual goal-1,000 volunteer hours of service to its local community. This week, the company was chipping away at the challenge, hosting a blood drive on Thursday, September 28 at its headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to Jezierski, the blood drive is one of several opportunities for Crystal D employees and neighboring businesses to head over to the parking lot and donate blood to the local Red Cross. Along with the many other charity initiatives Crystal D gives back to throughout the year, the company also plans to adopt several families at Christmas and will continue its ongoing donation drive to benefit a local food pantry.

Now almost 10 months into the challenge issued by Dahlgren, Crystal D is well on its way to 1,000 hours. A final tally will be calculated for the total hours volunteered in early January, Jeziersky adds.

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