More than 1,000 Mainers turned out to volunteer at Deering High School on Sunday as part of Million Meals Maine, packing 217,728 meals to be distributed by Feed My Starving Children, a global hunger relief charity. The one-day event here in Maine doubled in size since last year. www.millionmealsmaine.org.
Volunteers Hannah Prue, Tasha Wales and Coral Smith of Portland.
Committee members Dale Carlson of Gray and Jim Rogers of Gorham were part of the group that brought Feed My Starving Children to Maine.
Rachel Cannary of Arundel.
Volunteers from the U.S. Navy's USS Zumwalt, stationed in Bath.
"When you see pictures of the kids who were starving and you see pictures of the same kids six month laters, the transformation is unbelievable," said Dale Carlson of the Million Meals Maine committee.
It all starts with a scoop of vitamins, a scoop of veggies...
And then soy and rice.
Those four ingredients get measured into a bag.
An adult volunteer seals the bag.
And once a station has 36 bags, they get boxed.
When a station has a box ready for pickup, the team cheers.
Warehouse crew volunteers, like Will Bessey and Alan Molnar of Brunswick, stand by to pick up boxes.
And the boxes are packaged for shipping for more than 70 countries where there are children in need.
Shorter volunteers stand on boxes to help out...
... or say Cheese...
... or take snuggle breaks.
In the 2-hour morning session, 204 volunteers packed 247 boxes.
That's 216 meals per box.
That's enough food to feed 146 children for an entire year.
In 2014, Million Meals Maine packed 108,864 meals...
And in 2015, more than 1,000 people signed up to volunteer.
By the end of the day, Mainers had packed 217,728 meals.
That's certainly something to smile about.
Plus, there's something magical about strangers coming together to work as a team.
Or getting together with a church group.
Or just jamming out to some good music.
Or being trusted to do something big even when you're small.
And everyone gets a hairnet.
And a chance to be a small part...
... of something big.
Keep an eye out for signups for next year: www.millionmealsmaine.org