SHOREVIEW, Minn. (FOX 9) - Volunteers are kicking off one of the largest packing events for Feed My Starving Children since the start of the pandemic.
Community members started packing Thursday afternoon at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview and will continue through Monday.
"We are just so excited to be back packing," said Dave Gunnlaugsson, FMSC Mobile Pack Development Advisor.
Many have seen these sort of mobile set-ups pre-pandemic, but Feed My Starving Children has not been organizing large scale operations like this in more than year. At the start of the pandemic, the nonprofit had to stop production for nine days and for the first time start using machines to help the record number of meal requests from partners in 70 countries.
"Thankfully we were able to add in the machine packing piece so we were still able to send 270 million meals last year," said Gunnlaugsson. "We didn’t think that was going to happen at all."
In June, packing by volunteers started again but limited with social distancing and on a smaller scale then years passed. There's been many safety protocols added including health screenings. Plus, supply chain challenges have now turned planning an event like this from weeks into months. All those changes in mind makes CEO Mark Crea even more thankful.
"When I walked into Incarnation my heart just warmed up," Crea said. "I could hear it, see people running around. This feels good. This is community."
The goal this weekend is to pack 614,304 meals by more than 2,800 volunteers. More 1,400 volunteers have signed up, including kids as young as five years old, the Augsburg Women’s volleyball team and more.
"That’s the real excitement for me to see the community come together and do good.. great work of God," Pastor Kai Nilsen said.
Spots are available on the packing schedule through the weekend. Groups up to ten can register to pack meals. To sign up, visit this website.