LOVE WEEK is always an exciting time for Rise Against Hunger as we partner with Elevation Church to package thousands of meals across several locations and have the opportunity to meet thousands of difference-making volunteers. This year’s event was supposed to be the biggest yet, spanning across 8 locations in North Carolina and Virginia with a goal of packaging over 410,000 meals! And then COVID-19 hit and packing 250 volunteers into a gym like last summer was no longer an option; we had to adapt accordingly.
At the Elevation Church location in Concord, North Carolina, we worked with the Elevation Outreach crew to plan, stage and execute a much smaller, socially-distanced meal packaging strategy to ensure our volunteers’ and staff’s safety and security was top priority. We required everyone wear a mask, have their temperature checked, register for attendance records, sanitize their hands, wear gloves at every station and, of course, don our awesome red hair nets at all times!
Across two full days, we ran 10 separate shifts with small 10-person assembly lines and utilized our staff to replenish ingredients and stack finished boxes to reduce mingling between stations. Every station was sanitized between shifts as well. To reach Concord’s total site goal of over 30,000 meals for the entire event, each shift was asked to package 3,000 meals in one hour, and all the volunteers met their shift’s goal with enthusiasm! We also had a local neighbor, Factory Church Charlotte, roll over with a bunch of their folks to join the socially-distanced meal packing party, and they even brought along their ice cream truck for a cold refresher on a hot summer day.
As a Rise Against Hunger Community Engagement Manager and meal packaging event facilitator, the best part of these LOVE WEEK events for me is working with so many different volunteers from all walks of life who are excited to both give back to their local communities and help other families around the world, especially during these uncertain times. I personally love seeing families working together to package meals and so many children getting involved as they will be the ones to carry the torch into the next generation of volunteerism.
In the true fashion of LOVE WEEK, this event was just one of many events taking place across the region that focused on giving back to the local community and helping other people all around the world. As we were setting up our event on Friday afternoon, they had just wrapped up a snack-pack event. And, as we were loading the last pallet of their 30,000+ meals packaged over the two days, their outreach crew and volunteers were already setting up to assemble hygiene kits the next day. It’s an honor to partner with Elevation Church and be included in LOVE WEEK, and I can’t wait to see what we can do together again!
Want to learn more about our CDC-compliant meal packaging method? Learn more here!