A lofty, and very generous, goal awaits residents in and around Woodbury over the next four days as they seek to pack four million meals for the hungry through the nonprofit group Feed My Starving Children (FMSC).
Some 20,000 volunteers are expected to take turns packing the meals as part of the effort, called Woodbury Feeds, which will be one of the largest events of its kind ever for FMSC.
Feed My Starving Children has taken over the fieldhouse at the Bielenberg Sports Center, where the volunteers will put together the huge number of individual packaged meals, called MannaPacks, from Thursday morning through Sunday evening.
The MannaPacks are potato- and rice-based meals that contain vitamins and dehydrated vegetables; they're specifically formulated to meet the needs of malnourished children.
Once packed, they're shipped to orphanages, schools, clinics and feeding programs in dozens of countries around the world.
Lisa Engh, one of the organizers, said four million meals is enough to feed 11,000 children for an entire year, according to the Woodbury Bulletin.
Besides doing good work, organizers are also pleased the event is bringing together so many residents of the area to help out.
"I am really excited about this," Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "What an opportunity to bring together people who would not normally be together."
Church groups, community organizations, businesses and families are all getting involved, the Bulletin notes.
There's even some friendly rivalry between the football teams at Woodbury and East Ridge High Schools, who'll face each other in a much-anticipated game on Friday night.
About 100 players from those teams will pack meals on Thursday. They'll also collect donations for Feed My Starving Children at the game, said the newspaper.
There are still volunteer slots available, and anyone age 5 and older can participate.
Volunteers sign up for two-hour shifts, which run from 9 a.m-11 a.m; noon-2 p.m; 3 p.m.-5 p.m; and 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
To sign up, go to woodburyfeeds.org.
FMSC will also donate 10 percent of the money raised for this event to the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf in Woodbury.