Volunteers to pack 1 million meals for hungry children
By Josh Staloch
HOWARD – In early 2020, Green Bay Feed My Starving Children (GBFMSC), the local chapter of a nationwide nonprofit, set a goal to pack 1 million meals to fight against hunger.
The pandemic made it impossible to reach the goal, so it’s taking another shot this year.
From Oct. 4-7, members from 11 area churches will come together at Green Bay Community Church to package 1 million meals in a MobilePack event.
Around 3,600 volunteers are expected to participate over the course of the event.
“They should expect to have the most fun they’ve ever had in a hairnet,” Vanessa Moran, GBFMSC media co-chair said. “It is loud, it is fun, it’s fast-paced, and when you’re packing that food, you know that someone on the other side of the world is going to have their life blessed by it.”
In 2019, the national organization provided nearly 360 million meals around the globe, with the help of more than 1.4 million volunteers.
In 2020, it delivered nearly 369 million meals worldwide but did so with fewer than 200,000 volunteers at MobilePack events held in the early months of 2020, before COVID-19 shut things down.
The national organization decided to invest in machines to automate the packing process and eliminate the risk of spreading the virus at MobilePack events.
Moran said it was a difficult choice, but in the end, the right one.
“It’s not our goal, to do it that way, quite honestly,” she said. “It’s about the people. We are the machines, a human assembly line that comes together in place of a machine in a warehouse. But, during the pandemic, the need for food didn’t disappear. In fact, it grew.”
According to UNICEF, at least 6,200 children die every day from hunger-related causes.
However, after years worth of work from scientists at companies like Cargill, General Mills and Pillsbury, it was discovered how to feed a child a year’s worth of vitamin and mineral-fortified meals for $88.
The national organization’s fundraising efforts go directly toward buying raw food ingredients to be packed at its MobilePack events in places like Green Bay.
From there, the meals are donated to food partners around the world and then distributed to kids who need them.
It only took one MobilePack session for Janette Adamski to make volunteering locally a regular part of her life.
In 2012, Adamski, who is now the MobilePack chairperson for GBFMSC, and her husband, Dennis, decided to check out a pack day in Appleton.
Janette Adamski said the experience was profound.
“I didn’t realize at the time how many kids were dying every day in the world from hunger,” she said. “That caught our hearts, and we got involved. It just tugged at us and we decided we had to do something to help.”
Since then, Adamski has traveled to Haiti with the national organization, where she said she saw how her efforts back home have an impact in the fight against global hunger.
She said the experience cemented her commitment to the cause.
“Every time I think, this is too hard, I want to give up, I remember the kids that I held in my arms,” she said. “I remember what they look like. I remember the people that were working with them and the conditions they were working under, and it reminds me that nothing I’m going through right now equals that.”
Paul Evanson, the GBFMSC media co-chair, has been involved for just over a year.
As a new volunteer, he said he is looking forward to this year’s MultiPack event after COVID-19 put the brakes on 2020’s Green Bay pack.
“One of the aspects of the event that I really love is that it’s trying to tackle a global issue,” Evanson said. “Hunger is a global issue, and instead of being overwhelmed by the problem, throwing up your hands and saying ‘Well, what can I do about it?’ You’ve got close to a dozen partner churches in the area coming together and uniting as a team of volunteers. We’re going to bring it to a community level and do something about it.”
He said everyone who attends the October event will be required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.
For more information on how to get involved, CLICK HERE.