Woodbury Hosts Four-day Record-breaking Feed My Starving Children Event

Over four inspirational days, Woodbury met (and beat!) its goal of packing 4 million meals to feed the hungry at home and abroad.
This Honduras feeding center and similar ones in six other countries received the meals packed in Woodbury.

Six months ago, nearly 15,000 volunteers walked into Woodbury’s Bielenberg Sports Center (BSC) to assemble and pack meals for the hungry at the largest-ever Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) mobile pack event under one roof in the United States. While the meals were sent to seven countries around the world, the event also had a local component: a portion of the money raised was donated to the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf (CCEFS). We asked some of the key players involved to reflect on the event and its impact on the Woodbury community.

Greig Metzger, executive director, Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf

We need to credit our community’s faith and elected leadership for connecting CCEFS to this event. Hunger is a challenge throughout the world, including here in our own backyard. The FMSC mobile pack team brought us in, realizing that the event presented an opportunity to raise awareness of local hunger challenges as well as provide financial support to CCEFS. We serve more than 6,000 households each year and know the need is even larger. The event raised $50,000 for CCEFS; we are looking at a number of initiatives to help more families, including mobile options as well as investments in increased storage and refrigeration.

I believe that the event was a spectacular success, packing 4 million meals for desperate children and providing CCEFS a financial leg up to begin its capacity expansion. Yet what excited me the most was the real-life demonstration of what our community can do when it puts its collective mind to a challenge. I was struck by the transformation of the participants, many of whom were wearing T-shirts from their respective church, club, business, school or team, as they entered the packing floor. Once the action started, it was no longer about where we came from, but all about how by working together, we can make a positive impact on the world in which we live.

Mary Giuliani Stephens, mayor, City of Woodbury

The city co-sponsored the event by providing BSC at no charge, and assisting in promoting the event through a social media campaign to engage the community. Staff members serving on the planning committee included Bob Klatt, parks and recreation director, who worked on logistics and was on site for the entire four days. We partnered on the event because we saw the positive impact it would have on our community, as it provided a unique opportunity to bring together residents, schools, churches, businesses, government and nonprofits for a great cause: to feed the hungry at home and abroad.

The City Council adopted a strategic two-year initiative to foster an inclusive and welcoming community. As Woodbury grows and becomes more diverse, we must continue to work to assure all residents feel welcome, safe and connected. The FMSC event provided an opportunity and succeeded in bringing us together; we look forward to building off this event. The event also gave us an opportunity to highlight and promote BSC and its versatility as an ideal venue for hosting large-scale events.

Lisa Engh, co-chair, Woodbury Feed My Starving Children mobile pack event

I am thankful and proud to live and work in Woodbury—a community that was willing to take on the audacious goal of packing 4 million meals for the hungry. The impact of the event is being felt in feeding centers, orphanages and schools in seven countries, with more than 11,000 children being fed for one year. The impact didn’t stop there, with $50,000 raised for our local food shelf. The event showed what it’s like to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors in service to others. I think it ignited something in our community that will continue to burn in the months and years ahead. We are capable of big things. So, what is next, Woodbury?