Volunteers will pack 500,000 meals to feed the hungry

Remember the butterfly effect? That’s the idea that little actions, like a butterfly flapping its wings, can lead to big outcomes.

Connect Christian Church in Concord is planning an event to prove that lots of little actions can quickly add up to a huge, potentially life-changing effect.

On Oct. 30 and 31, Connect Christian Church will host a Feed the Hungry event at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. Thousands of volunteers will pack more than 500,000 meals for Haiti and other countries where malnutrition and starvation are prevalent.

According to Mel Verburg of Connect Christian Church, this is the second time the church has partnered with Lifeline Christian Mission to provide meals for hungry and starving children. Two years ago, the church hosted a packing event that resulted in about 250,000 meals. But this time, they are involving the Cabarrus County community and doubling their goal to half a million meals.

“People feel overwhelmed trying to solve problems like world hunger,” Verburg said. But by donating a few hours of their time, or a little bit of their money, to events like Feed the Hungry, they can make a huge difference.

Charles Gregory learned that lesson first-hand. Several years ago, he and his family traveled to Cincinnati for a food-packing events with friends. As the adults prepared the meals for shipment, Gregory’s son, Kayson, spent time at a station specially prepared for young children to decorate the boxes in which the meals would be packed. Kayson had fun writing his name and drawing some pictures on one of the boxes.

Months later, Gregory was in Haiti on a mission trip, when he was asked to help unpack a trailer of meals to be distributed to children. Imagine his surprise when he spotted Kayson’s name and drawings on a box on the very first pallet unloaded from that trailer. “Being able to distribute the food I had a hand in packing, it gave me chills,” Gregory recalled.

Having seen the need in Haiti, Gregory is passionate about getting the community involved in the cause. Verburg and he agree that this is not a Connect Christian Church event; it’s a Cabarrus County event.

So far, thousands of volunteers, including civic and church groups, schools and businesses have responded to the call and will be at the arena to package, weigh, seal and box up meals. And children will once again be decorating boxes. The meals themselves are comprised of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins and nutrients and provide 75 percent of a child’s daily nutritional requirements.

The biggest challenge now for this Feed the Hungry event is raising the finances needed. The cost for packaging and shipping 500,000 meals is about $114,000, Verburg said. But to break that down into smaller bits, one box (with 216 meals) costs $43. “Even small contributions will make a big difference,” she said.

Lots of people doing a little bit can add up to quite a lot. That’s the goal of this Feed the Hungry event.

Marcia Morris is a freelance writer:

Want to help?

To make a donation, go to the church’s website,, or mail it to 3101 Davidson Highway, Concord, NC 28027. Donations are tax-deductible, and all of the donation goes toward meals.