The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

Feeding Spirits in Mississippi: ‘More than Mistakes’

Feeding Spirits in Mississippi: ‘More than Mistakes’

Maggie is a  MobilePack™ Volunteer Program Facilitator for Feed My Starving Children. Below, she shares her reflections from a recent event. 

Feeding kids hungry in body and spirit. As a MobilePack™ Volunteer Program Facilitator, I have said the Feed My Starving Children mission statement hundreds of times to volunteers all across the country.

Often times in my job, we tend to focus more on the “body” side of FMSC’s mission statement. On the packing floor, our focus centers around the actual meal production and helping volunteers pack the lifesaving meals that are sent all around the world. However, it seems that every time I start to lose site of the “spirit” side of our mission, God leads me to an encounter with a volunteer – or in this case – an event that reminds me just how important feeding spirits is even here on the packing floor.

This September, I had the opportunity to work with the inmates of the Marshall County Correctional Facility to pack over 100,000 meals. This was the second MobilePack™ we’ve hosted at this correctional facility, which is located in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In the weeks leading up to the event I grew more and more excited for the potential of this MobilePack™, and yet it still surpassed any of my expectations.

As I entered the facility I expected to be nervous, but once we were through security and in the packing room I felt very at peace.


The first step to any event is unloading our supplies from the truck, but that process looked very different for this event. Because the room we use doesn’t have a door wide enough to fit a pallet through we have to get a little creative. In order to bring all of our supplies and ingredients into the facility the men create a line, and pass everything in by hand; this includes more than 14,000 pounds of rice. I was so amazing watching the men work in unison, and with such efficiency.

For the packing sessions, I was primarily working with the warehouse team. As the session went on I all but forgot where I was. I wasn’t working alongside inmates, but next to people, people who have stories, and liked to joke around and give me a hard time. People who were laughing, and having the best time.

If it had not been for the striped pants, or the “convict” written boldly across their shoulders, there would have been little to remind me who I was working with. One of the inmates even made it a point to thank me for speaking to him like a real person despite his current situation.

For this event, the staff of the MCCF preassign the jobs that will need to be taken care of and the men are placed on color coded teams to know which station they will be working with. The men who had packed meals with us in 2018 got to stay on their same teams this year. It was so cool to see the facility to feel more like a community. 

The team pride was so fun, and the competition was close. Everyone wanted to be the winning team, and everyone was taking the packing very seriously. The men packed so fast, and the atmosphere was electric.

'I May be in Here for Taking a Life'

Last year following this event, the men won a prize for a video they put together recapping their experience packing with FMSC, and their prize was $1,000. Our contact within the facility, Mrs. McMullen, told us that typically this money would go toward a pizza party, or something similar for the team that worked on the project, but that the men had elected to donate that money to pack even more meals.

Because of the generosity these men exhibited, we were able to pack an extra pallet of food — bringing our event total to 116,640 meals.

So many of the men spoke of how this event had a serious impact on their lives; they told our staff about how this event gave them hope, and reminded them that they can be more than the mistakes they had made, and they spoke on how this event fed their spirits.

One of the most profound things I heard throughout my day at the Marshall County Correctional Facility came from a man named Willie. He said, “I may be in here for taking a life, but some of the kids are gaining a life back because of the food we packed.”

Many of the inmates told us that FMSC coming was one of the highlights of their whole year. In my job I regularly feel blessed to be a part of something bigger than myself, but on this Tuesday in September I gained a new perspective on just how much of an impact FMSC can have.

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