Aug. 24, 2012
- Nearly 500 Baylor student-athletes, coaches and staff are scheduled to work next Monday to feed thousands of starving children in the developing world. Through a partnership between Baylor Athletics and Twin Cities-based Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), these volunteers will prepare 100,000 life-saving meals at an FMSC MobilePack TM event. The MobilePack TM event will take place on Monday, August 27th, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Baylor University's Ferrell Center.
"Feed My Starving Children affords our student-athletes, coaches and staff an exciting ministry opportunity to positively contribute to the lives of underprivileged young people around the world and fight hunger through preparing and packaging 100,000 meals," said Baylor Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. "This event embodies our department's core values and is a prime example of what makes Baylor so unique and special."
Baylor Athletics was first introduced to the Feed My Starving Children outreach by Senior Associate Athletics Director Chad Jackson, who is heading up the department's FMSC effort along with Callie Schrank, Assistant to the Director of Athletics, Athletics Chaplain Wes Yeary, Senior Associate Athletics Director Tom Hill, Associate Athletics Director John Garrison and Assistant Athletics Director Henry Howard. Jackson began his association with FMSC through his former church in Birmingham, Ala., while working at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
"This is a way to uphold the mission of the University and kind of bring the project into a comfortable, familiar environment and maybe expose people to that it means to help your neighbor," Jackson said. "To me, this is just a demonstration that we're not so caught up and absorbed with ourselves that we're going to continue to live the mission of the University and help others."
In the "Year of the Bear," when so much has been given to Baylor, Schrank said, this is a great way to give back.
"We've been blessed with so much this year," she said, "this is a great opportunity to make sure we're giving credit where it's due."
Now in its 25th year, Feed My Starving Children is a unique ministry that provides meals to 70 countries around the world in a large-scale relief project started in 1987 by a Minnesota businessman who felt called by God to help feed the starving children of the world during a humanitarian visit to Honduras.
FMSC also connected with food scientists from Cargill and General Mills to develop a nutritional product especially designed to feed starving children. This food product included rice, soy, vegetables, a vegetarian-based chicken flavoring and a vitamin and mineral mix, a formula that food scientists continue to update.
According to a video produced by FMSC, "one child every five seconds dies from a hunger-related cause. That's 18,000 kids a day."
"I don't think any of us would look a starving child in the eye and say, `I won't help you,' and then walk away."
Mark Crea, FMSC's Executive Director, said, "In a mobile packing event, you bring your hands, your heard and your resources to help feed starving kids around the world."
FMSC brings all the raw ingredients and everything else to pack the 100,000 meals. Baylor Athletics will pay the $22,000 price tag (22 cents per meal) and provide the 450 volunteers needed to pack the meals in two-hour shifts.
"The concept behind the organization is they have all of the materials," Jackson said. "They just need the volunteers. They need the hands to put it together and the facility that can host it and organize the work force. . . . All we really supply is the building, some eight-foot tables, a forklift and the able bodies."
In working stations called cells, a group of 15-20 volunteers can pack 4,000 meals in a two-hour session.
"Essentially, we're going to have eight to 10 work stations set up all over the gym floor," Jackson said. "And every one of those 20 volunteers will have a job to do. You might have one person loading the boxes, others are transporting boxes to the pallets for the forklift to put on the truck. Some of them are going to be using the hot-press machine that seals the plastic packages. Every pod, or cell, has that same kind of assembly-line process."
During each shift, there will be live updates on how many meals are packed at each table in 30-minute segments. At the end of three two-hour shifts, the 100,000 meals will be packed and ready to be distributed to the ends of the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and from Azerbaijan to Zambia and the Ukraine.
FMSC works with major global distribution nonprofits and imbedded missionaries such as Salesian Missions, Love A Child, Cross International, Samaritans International and World in Need to distribute the meals all around the world.
"The difference you can make is sometimes feeding 50 or 100 kids for an entire year," an FMSC volunteer says in the video. "There are not many things you can do in life that you can say if you only give up this short segment of time, this is the impact you can have."
"You can be a part of moving these children from a place of hunger to a place of hope," says another volunteer.
In 2003, FMSC produced 3 million meals with one packing site and 17,000 volunteers.
By last year, they produced over 133 million meals with six permanent packing sites and a nationwide MobilePack program and more than 565,000 volunteers.
This year, Baylor is one of six MobilePack event sites in Texas that include Texas A&M and four church sites.
Beyond working as a volunteer for the project, individuals can also help offset the $22,000 cost by making a donation to Baylor Sports Ministry. If you would like to find out more, go to www.fmsc.org/.