At 212 Media Studios, we believe that giving is more than just something you should do out of habit every December. It is really important—and can literally change both the recipient and the giver. That’s why this holiday season, 212 Media Studios is spending 12 days focusing exclusively on what it means to give.
Many businesses set aside a portion of their resources to give to certain charities. Others give only when “’tis the season.” And still others have incorporated giving into the very core of what they do—like Feed My Starving Children (FMSC).
FMSC is a Christian non-profit committed to feeding God’s children who are hungry in body and spirit. Their approach is simple: adults and kids hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, which are then shipped to nearly 70 countries around the world.
Some meals are packed at FMSC’s permanent sites, while others are done through “MobilePack” events—one of which recently took place in Warsaw, Ind. Between October 8 and 11, 4,950 people gathered at Madison Elementary to give their time to pack meals for Feed My Starving Children. When all was said and done, more than a million meals were shipped—1,003,104 to be exact.
Justin Farrell, CEO of 212 Media Studios, was key in coordinating the FMSC meal-packing event, helping raise funds in the community and making it a success. “I went to a packing event in Nappanee two years in a row. Then, I was approached by David Wayne and Scott Sterk to see how we could bring FMSC to Warsaw.”
Farrell and others in the community strategized to raise the funds for the event. “Ours was fully community-driven,” says Farrell. “It wasn’t just a church giving money or sponsoring it. All the funds were given by businesses and kids in the school corporation. And, we had some donations from churches and individuals.”
But the funds came about in a very surprising way. “A week before the event, we were only planning on packing 600,000 meals,” says Farrell. “But then, a few days before, the Lord brought in enough finances to pack around 900,000 meals. And by the end of the week, enough had been given to pack over a million meals. Typically, FMSC can only fluctuate by 100,000 meals. But when we called, it really was an act of God that they were able to bring more supplies. They went all out, and it was great!”
At the event, stations were set up and volunteers formed an assembly line to compile the meal packets, placing them into boxes to be shipped. To keep things moving, there was fast-paced music, competitions for packing the most meals in certain time frames, and karaoke. Farrell explains, “We’d say ‘the table who packs ten boxes first gets free custard or pizza.’ These prizes were donated by other businesses in the area. Some weren’t able to give financially, but they helped by giving awards.”
For Farrell, the best part of Warsaw’s MobilePack was how it “rallied the community together—it’s something that all ages can do. There are even jobs for those who can’t stand for long periods of time. We don’t really have any other events in Warsaw that get people as hands-on in helping and giving like this. The actual act doesn’t really include a religious barrier. Everyone can just come in and pack food for starving children. I loved that I knew a lot of people there. Friends and family were all there with us.”
FMSC doesn’t just change the lives of those who need food; it impacts the volunteers personally. Farrell explains, “It was amazing to see people come back for multiple days, or just stay to help from session to session to session.”
Farrell continues, “My schedule involves a lot of things in the Warsaw area—with other businesses, non-profits, and missions in Haiti. FMSC impacted all of them. More than half of the meals we packed that week went to Haiti. What made putting in the extra time worth it was seeing how all the other businesses and friends that I have in this area came together for this event. It’s a great way to live out the mission instead of just giving money. At the end of the event, several kids came forward who had received food, and through different events—like being adopted—are now living in Warsaw. You definitely saw the impact this has, from the beginning to the end.”
Discussions for the next Warsaw packing event are already underway. They hope to announce the dates in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
To see previous blog posts in our 12-day GIVE series, click here. And be sure to come back tomorrow for day seven in our series.