The Milbank Orphan Grain Train is celebrating its 10th anniversary by expanding. The nonprofit organization is constructing a 30 by 40-foot addition to its warehouse to be used only to package Mercy Meals. Mercy Meals are rice-based nutrition packages prepared in Milbank and shipped domestically and internationally to those in need.
According to Mae Saeger, longtime volunteer at OGT, “Our local workers are dedicated volunteers, and we also have groups and individuals who travel from as far west as Aberdeen. Some come from areas along the Minnesota border, and many are from small towns in the Milbank area. A group of young people from Brookings are scheduled to pack Mercy Meals in October.” Duane Folk (605.924.6831) and Tom and Barb Werner (605.432.6916) oversee Mercy Meals in Milbank.
The original portion of the OGT building, which was built in 2009, will continue to be used for collecting wearable clothing, shoes, bedding, school supplies, and other items. The warehouse shipped 97 pallets of clothing, quilts, shoes, toys, fabric, Mercy Meals, layette and school kits, and assorted medical items during the fiscal year of May 2018 to May 2019. Each pallet contained 36 boxes. To aid in flood relief, 19 pallets of cleaning supplies and three pallets plus 23 boxes of Mercy Meals were sent. That shipment also included 160 sleeping mats made from plastic shopping bags, five medical exam tables, six hospital beds, a tool cart, and many used bicycles.
Last April, the group hosted a spring luncheon to donate funds to the Nebraska flood relief. The luncheon raised $11,000.
Additional gifts brought the total to just over $20,000 – all raised locally.
Orphan Grain Train will hold its annual fundraiser on Sunday, October 27, in the Emanuel Lutheran Church Fellowship
Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Waldner’s specialty sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut, and dessert will be the menu.
(Watch The Valley Express for more information.)
Orphan Grain Train is headquartered in Norfolk, Nebraska. Rita Fonder, formerly of Milbank, is employed as part of the administration
staff in Norfolk. The organization is a nonprofit with 27 regional locations from California to Connecticut. Since 1992, 69 countries and 37 states have been served. More than 31 million fortified rice meals have been distributed since 2007. All work of the 27 districts is done by volunteers, which for this fiscal year was 113,230,060 volunteer hours.
Charity Navigator gave OGT a (four star) rating – their highest rating. Administrators for OGT operate on 1.7 percent per dollar, which means for every dollar donated, 98 cents is used for humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Orphan Grain Train is located at 101 12th Avenue West in Milbank. Questions? Contact Joyce Kasuske at 605.432.4377, Jeanette Stensland at 805.432.5612, or Mae Saeger at 605.432.6413.