Powell led an effort three years ago in which 5,000 volunteers packed 1 million meals over the same time period at an area middle school. Convinced more could and should be done, Powell dreamed of doubling that effort.
That vision became a reality on Sunday, when the magic completed number was displayed on an oversized video display. Volunteers, who worked 11 sets of two-hour shifts from Friday to Sunday, cheered and danced as Gary Glitter's sports-arena anthem "Rock & Roll, Part 2" filled the Suburban Collection Showplace, a convention center in Novi, which donated 65,000 square feet of space.
Also on board was Feed My Starving Children, a Coon Rapids, Minn., nonprofit that sends volunteer-packed meals across the globe.
NorthRidge members paid for the meals themselves, raising $440,000 mostly through Christmas offerings at the church, which is one of the largest in the U.S. The nondenominational Christian church, which has its main campus in Plymouth Township as well as two satellite locations elsewhere in Michigan, draws an average of 9,600 worshippers each weekend.
Jenna Stewart, 10, helped pack meals Friday alongside her sister, mother and grandmother — smiling widely throughout.
"My mother has been calling out numbers," said Jenna, who lives in Garden City. "She's really loud."
Packing stations such as Jenna's cheered when they reached a certain number of meals. The hooting and hollering could be heard, barely, over the nonstop barrage of music — an eclectic mix of Christian rock, Motown, modern pop and more.
Occasionally, organizers gave the volunteers a much-needed break.
On Sunday, the volunteers dropped their tape, scissors, labels and ladles and broke into the "Cupid Shuffle" dance en masse.
Gabe Solak, a 12-year-old from Ypsilanti, said he was drawn by the chance to do something for someone else.
"I heard about all these kids who were starving and are hungry, and I wanted to help them," he said. "I'm very compassionate."
Sgt. Stacy Price, 43, worked alongside a handful of his fellow soldiers from a nearby Army National Guard unit, which saw 2 Million Meals as both a chance to give back as well as a valuable team-building exercise.
Price, though, said it was simply an enjoyable experience.
"I got to meet some amazing people here. Hopefully, I've met some more friends," said the fatigues-clad Price, who posed for more than a few pictures with other volunteers. "The experience was great. The people were very upbeat. Everyone was smiling and having a good time."