Meals of Hope is a food packaging organization. They coordinate meal packaging events where volunteers come together to help assemble one of five simple nonperishable meals (beans and rice casserole, macaroni and cheese, cinnamon and apple oatmeal, chicken with vegetables and rice, or pasta with tomato sauce).
Each meal is packed with added protein (soy powder) as well as vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from the diet of lower income families. While most of the food packaged by Meals of Hope is donated to the Feeding America Food Bank Network, local events are set up by the community where the event is held, and the food they package is then donated to their the local community resource organizations of their choice.
I participated in a Meals of Hope meal packing event at the GaETC in Atlanta last year and did it again this year. As I was waiting for the event to begin, I inquired about the process of setting up my own event. It’s not as complicated as it may seem. Meals of Hope provides the food and packaging. You provide everything else (i.e. volunteers, space, tables). Once you select a number of meals to package, you pay Meals of Hope 25 cents per meal and then send the meals to your local food bank or charity of choice. If it’s something you’re really interested in doing, they’ll even help you set up fundraising for it. Personally, I thought it would be a good opportunity for BSA and Girl Scouts to earn community service hours.
At GaETC 2017 and 2018, we packed macaroni and cheese meals in an assembly line fashion. First, we measured out the ingredients and poured them into the provided bags. Each bag was weighed and adjusted to make sure it had the correct amount. Then, we sealed the bags closed and laid them out on a mat to be tagged. After that, we boxed them and sealed them. In total, the volunteers at GaETC 2018 packaged around 41,000 meals!
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for organizations like Meals of Hope. What are you thankful for?