When devising a strategy for his nonprofit organization’s biggest project to date, Feeding Children Everywhere President and CEO Don Campbell fully realized the timing.
He knew that Project 3, designed to package 3 million meals for distribution to school districts across the country, would take place in Tampa, Fla., the same week as the Republican National Convention. In fact, he couldn’t think of a better time or place for it.
Campbell and Feeding Children Everywhere board member Ed Kobel, also president and CEO of DeBartolo Development in Tampa, set the schedule for Project 3 with somewhat of a hidden agenda.
“Ed is a mover and a shaker in Tampa. He and I met late last year and he said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a crazy idea. Let’s do a food-packing event when the RNC is in town,’” Campbell said. “Our biggest goal is to raise awareness for the hunger problem in this country. We estimated that there would be between 15,000 and 20,0000 global media in town during that time. It’s a way for us to get some good exposure, but the main thing is that it’s great for a community of believers to come together and do something great for our country.
“Without making this a political thing, we wanted to use some of the heated energy that is surrounding the RNC to do something to show that the church can come out on top, that we can lift up the name of Christ across the nation. This is what happens when a community of believers gets together and does something to make a real difference.”
The Republican National Convention is set for Aug. 27-30 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Project 3 is a six-day charitable project scheduled to be held in a vacant lot on East Palm Avenue in Tampa from Aug. 25-30. The food packed during that week will be shipped to crisis food pantries in 30 different school districts across the United States from Orlando, Fla., to San Diego. Each school district will receive 100,000 healthy meals.
Campbell said the organization plans to ship an additional 600,000 meals from Project 3 to organizations in 50 different cities throughout the country.
Feeding Children Everywhere’s charitable efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by its beneficiaries.
“I am so excited that OKCPS will be so fortunate to receive the donation of meals this year. This will be so helpful to so many of our families,” Kathy A. Brown, homeless education coordinator in Oklahoma City, Okla., said on feedingchildreneverywhere.com. “Thank you again. I just cannot tell you how grateful we are.”
In addition to Campbell and his wife, Kristin, Feeding Children Everywhere, birthed in 2010, maintains a staff of 15 full-time employees and 20 interns. Volunteers, however, are the lifeblood of the organization.
Campbell is expecting more than 10,000 volunteers of all ages to help pack meals during the week. By word-of-mouth through local churches, social media and radio and television advertising the word is spread to help gather the Feeding the Children’s volunteers.
“We work with pre-K students—some who are 3 years old—and we also work with senior citizens,” Campbell said. “Our demographic is wide open. People from every walk of life can participate in this hands-on project, and they get a great sense of satisfaction from it. We have learned to connect with people and, like Jesus, we’re very relational.”
As of press time, nearly 50 percent of Project 3 had been funded, by various businessmen and individuals.
“We are always stepping out in faith. But, God has done unbelievable miracles since we started this thing,” Campbell said. “We believe he is going to continue to work miracles because of what we’re trying to do for the kingdom. That’s why we know that he has blessed this project. It’s a huge undertaking, but nothing is too big for God.”