Richard Proudfit, the founder of Feed My Starving Children, a Minnesota-based nonprofit group that has delivered billions of nutritious meals to malnourished children worldwide, died Nov. 13 at a nursing home in Bloomington, Minn. He was 88.
His death was confirmed by Andy Carr, a spokesman for the Coon Rapids, Minn.-based organization Mr. Proudfit created in 1987. Carr did not know the cause of death.
A native of St. Paul, Minn., Mr. Proudfit went to Honduras on a medical relief mission in 1974, in the aftermath of Hurricane Fifi, and encountered widespread starvation. He began working on hunger-related issues back home and in 1987 founded Feed My Starving Children, a Christian-based nonprofit that has sent more than 2 billion meals to children and families in 70 countries since its inception.
An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mr. Proudfit assembled scientists from General Mills, Cargill and other companies to create a food product that met nutritional requirements for the malnourished. The group settled on a mix of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and chicken flavoring, plus vitamins and minerals, that remains in use.
Mr. Proudfit, who served as the organization’s chief executive from 1987 to 1998, “left behind a simply amazing legacy,” current CEO Mark Crea said in a statement. “He planted the seeds for thousands upon thousands of children to be fed when he answered God’s call to ‘Feed my starving children.’ ”
This year, 1.4 million volunteers at Feed My Starving Children sites across the United States will package 365 million meals, Carr said. In 2017, volunteers packed and shipped the organization’s 2 billionth meal.
Mr. Proudfit left Feed My Starving Children in 1998 to create another nonprofit, Kids Against Hunger, in which young adults help package food sent to those in need. In 2012, he received a Jefferson Award for public service.