At any one time Saturday, about 600 men, women and children stood at tables covering the Kansas Coliseum floor.
They all wore hair nets.
They worked as one for Haiti relief, as an assembly line to provide life-sustaining meals.
Volunteers from across the Wichita area and state took turns packaging food to be airlifted to Haiti and parachuted to earthquake survivors.
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The effort will continue from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Coliseum.
Why did so many people donate part of their Saturday to wait in line so they could put on aprons and plastic gloves, stand shoulder to shoulder and scoop food into bag after bag?
"Seeing the suffering on television," said Nancy Gomaz of Wichita. She brought her 14-year-old grandson, Alex Pineda.
"Just the desire to help those who are in need," said Mike Mountain, principal at Vermillion Primary School in Maize, standing in line outside the Coliseum with his wife, Susan, an art teacher at Valley Center Middle School.
"We contribute financially, but we felt we needed to do something beyond that," Mike Mountain said.
What moved him, he said, was seeing "the pain and suffering in the little kids' faces."
The Mountains expected to see some of their students and colleagues at the packaging event.
Volunteers came from cities including Manhattan, Hutchinson, Garden City, Ponca City, Okla., and the Kansas City area, said Rick McNary, CEO of Numana, a nonprofit, hunger-relief charity based in El Dorado that organized and led much of Saturday's effort.
Among the groups of volunteers were hundreds of local Boeing workers.
The goal is to package 1 million meals during the weekend. The assembly line was making smooth progress.
About every 10 minutes, someone rang a gong set up on the arena floor, announcing that another 10,000 meal bags had been packaged.
At each of the 500 tables, 10 to 12 volunteers methodically scooped the ingredients into a bag, weighed the contents, sealed the bags and placed them into boxes.
While they worked, Haitian music flowed from a sound system.
At the same time, hundreds of volunteers waited patiently for their turn. Each volunteer got to spend about an hour at a table. If they wanted to do more, they had to cycle back into a waiting line, so everyone got their opportunity to give. A number of people went back to the line to give more.
The food is designed to sustain malnourished people. It includes soy, rice, freeze-dried vegetables and a powder with a blend of 21 vitamins. Each bag of food, heated with water, can feed six people. The food has a three-year shelf life.
Donations paid for the food and supplies, McNary said.
It proves one thing, he said.
In 2002, while he worked as a pastor in Nicaragua, a 5-year-old girl approached McNary and asked him to hold her.
"As I was holding her, she whispered in my ear, 'Feed me. I am starving.'
"And it broke my heart," he said.
"I pledged right then and there to spend the rest of my life to do what I could to feed the starving."
Numana is joining with the Salvation Army, which is transporting the food.
Another recent local effort by Numana packaged 1 million meals that have already reached Haitians, McNary said.
Around 2 p.m. Friday, the last 200,000 meals from that effort were being parachuted to hungry people below, he said.
WSU also plans Haiti food relief
To help Haiti earthquake survivors, Wichita State University and its Elliott School of Communication have planned a 1-million-meal food packaging event with Numana.
The packaging will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 and from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at WSU's Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 29th and Oliver.