Five 18-wheeler trucks, 40 tons of soy, 60 tons of rice, and 5,000 volunteers took over Parish Episcopal School for three days this summer.
The occasion was the second million-meal MobilePack event in the Dallas area for Feed My Starving Children, a Minneapolis-based Christian nonprofit.
Ron Carey, a Preston Hollow resident, has been organizing MobilePack events for FMSC for five years, and volunteered for the group for three years before that.
While most MobilePack events produce around 100,000 meals in a single day, last year FMSC asked Carey to run an event to package 1 million meals.
92% of donations are spent on feeding programs.
2004 when the first MobilePack event was held in Kansas City. By 2012, these events were producing nearly a third of FMSC’s meals.
100,000 average number of meals Mobile Packs produce.
63 million number of meals MobilePack volunteers packed in 2014.
22¢ cost of one meal
“The number blew us away at first,” Carey said. “We had never done anything of this size, but really through faith it all worked.”
This year, Carey set out to reach 1 million meals again. The MobilePack ran for three days, with 4-5 two-hour shifts of 500 volunteers each day. By the end, the volunteers had prepared and packed 1.2 million meals.
Volunteers came from corporations like Invesco Real Estate, where Carey works, along with churches and schools. They represented a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
Carey got involved with the organization through his son, Drew, who is now a student at the University of Denver. Drew needed community-service hours for Boy Scouts, and Ron saw an announcement at his church about a MobilePack event for FMSC in Carrollton.
“It blew us away,” Carey said.
According to the FMSC website, 92 percent of all profits go directly to food production. Each meal costs 22 cents to produce, and is engineered to be as nutritious as possible while also being easy to digest and simple to prepare.
The meals are made with rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and vitamin and protein powders. Once mixed with boiling water, they are ready to eat.
The 1.2 million meals from Carey’s event all went to Haiti. Carey helped to deliver the food to orphanages and schools.
Haiti is still recovering from a massive earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 160,000 people and displaced 1.5 million.
“For kids to know that they will have a meal, it just takes a huge load off of them,” Carey said. “If they have a full tummy they can concentrate on school. If they have a full tummy they can gain weight and fight off disease.”
The organization has seven permanent food packing sites located in Minnesota, Arizona and Illinois, which are operational six days a week. Carey hopes to spur enough involvement in FMSC in the Dallas area to open up one here.
“That’s the endgame,” he said. “It’s my dream.”