Baylor students ready to pack 100,000 meals in 3 hours to supply meals to Waco’s neediest families

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 11:33 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Baylor students and volunteers are preparing for their second annual 58:10 Project to package 100,000 meals in only 3 hours for anyone in need.

“The best way to describe Project 58:10 is controlled chaos,” Baylor 58:10 Co-leader Jason MacGregor, said. “In three hours, 600 volunteers are going to come together and make 1000 meals. I wish I could say that’s going to solve food insecurity in Waco, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg.”

About 20% of Bell and McLennan County residents are considered food insecure, which means they do not have access or cannot afford food on a regular basis, according to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Baylor will be packaging red beans and rice dried meals that can last up to one year and feed a family of six. In partnership with Caritas, a social services organization in Waco, the meals are free for those in need in the community.

The project raised $40,000, making each meal worth $00.40, but they will be distributed to the community at no cost.

The three hours will consist of music, tables and over 600 volunteers packaging the dried food to be distributed to those in need. MacGregor said 12 meals will need to be made in each second to make the 100,000 goal in time. He has no doubts that the students will make that happen.

“We’re getting the room ready,” he said. “We’re getting 20 tables ready. We’re making sure all the technology is in place. We’re getting the power in place to heat seal all the meals, just even making sure all the right volunteers know when they need to be, where they need to be from an account.”

Inspired by a program in Arkansas called Pack Shack, Baylor students and faculty were drawn to the concept of spreading their values by providing food for those in need in Waco.

“They had a specific meal called Project 58:10 and we were immediately drawn to that,” he said. “They started with Christian heritage, and we really saw that that made a great partner.”

The theme, 58:10, is inspired from Isaiah 58:10--”You must actively help the hungry and feed the oppressed. Then, your light will drive out the darkness, and your darkness will become like the middle of the day.”

MacGregor knows this project will not completely solve food insecurity in the area, but he hopes it has an impact on the community.

“I wish I could say that’s going to solve food insecurity in Waco, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg,” he said “These meals can be stored for up to a year, and so it allows us to have a lasting impact. But, the truth of matter is, food insecurity is a crisis level event in Waco. Our real hope isn’t just that we make meals, but we make advocates of everyone who comes in and starts to understand that we all need to pitch in to address this problem in our community.”

Students will be packing meals from 4-7 p.m. in the business school. They plan to do 35,000 meals an hour.