In one day, student-athletes at Baylor University assembled 108,864 meal packets—enough to provide nutrition for nearly 300 children in developing nations for a year.
Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian ministry, 489 volunteers—coaches, student-athletes and Baylor athletic department staff—worked three two-hour shifts at the Ferrell Center to assemble the meal ingredients and pack 504 boxes.Working with
“This is one of the most anticipated and meaningful days of the year for Baylor athletics, to see how our student-athletes come together and do something not about themselves but about others,” said Ian McCaw, Baylor’s athletics director. “It’s a great team-building experience, a great opportunity to serve and to advance God’s kingdom. And to see our student-athletes so excited and energized about giving back is a big thrill.”
To be distributed around the world
Feed My Starving Children works with major global distribution nonprofits and missions organizations such as Salesian Missions, Love A Child, Cross International, Samaritans International and World in Need to distribute the meals around the world.
Working in assembly-line-style stations with 15 to 20 volunteers at each table, workers packed about 36,000 meals in each of the two-hour shifts. Food scientists from Cargill and General Mills developed a nutritional product especially designed to feed starving children that includes four main ingredients—rice, soy, vegetables and vitamins.
Athletes made good food packers because “it’s in their blood to be competitive,” even when they’re packing meals for the hungry, said Corey Barrette, supervisor for the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event.
“If we are at a point in an event where maybe we needed a little more production, there is no one we would rather have in the room than athletes that are just willing to push the envelope of production for us,” Barrette said.
McCaw agreed, adding: “I know the goal is to pack 100,000 meals, but our student-athletes are always looking to do one more. I think that’s one of the things the Feed My Starving Children staff have noticed is that when you put this project in the hands of competitive people, great things happen.”
All 19 varsity sports at Baylor were represented, noted Callie Schrank, who heads the Baylor project committee with Chad Jackson, senior associate athletics director. Schrank observed it was “cool to see tables where there was a mix of athletes from different teams, because then they get to know each other and support each other.”
Prayer asked God’s blessing
At the end of each packing session, volunteers and Feed My Starving Children staff joined in prayer, asking God’s blessing on the food and those who would benefit from it.
“Our sports ministry program is exploding, but not everybody is able to go on a mission trip to Kenya for two weeks in May,” McCaw said. “So, this gives every student-athlete the opportunity to participate. And that’s really what Baylor is all about. Our goal is to help our student-athletes reach their full potential athletically, academically, socially and spiritually—and this is an important component of what we do.”
In addition to providing the volunteer workers and facility to pack the meals, Baylor athletics also spent nearly $24,000 to pay for the food at 22 cents per meal.
“We don’t expect people to just open up their checkbooks and write a number like that all the time,” Barrette said. “But Baylor has been unbelievably gracious in making this something they want to do with their athletes at the beginning of the year.”