AIMCO Cares meets Stop Hunger Now!

11:52 AM

Me and Heather on the assembly line.

One of the things I appreciate about working for AIMCO is that they truly believe in giving back to the community. So much so, that we can use what’s called AIMCO Care hours to volunteer, and they will pay us for that time. If that doesn’t motivate you to volunteer for a good cause, I don’t know what will. Those of you who know me are aware that I have always had a passion for the underprivileged and disenfranchised. Some of my best days were spent in Chicago and other urban areas serving at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food banks, etc. When I saw a flyer posted about a Stop Hunger Now event, I knew I had to sign up! 
Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief non-profit organization that coordinates the packaging and distribution of food and other life-saving aid to people in developing nations. Founded in 1998, it has mobilized over 450,000 volunteers to send more than 150,000,000 meals to 65 countries. 
The weighing and sealing team.
On a cold and rainy Saturday, I arrived at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church not knowing what to expect. What I found was a line of people ready to volunteer. As they began their opening orientation, Jim, one of the event coordinators, mentioned that they were anticipating 100 volunteers for the first shift. There were 170 of us. Originally their plan was for each shift to package 10,000 meals, however, when the Stop Hunger Now team arrived, they brought enough food to package up to 30,000 meals. The challenge had been set! 
Stop Hunger Now meals are nutritiously sound. Every dehydrated rice/soy meal is fortified with 21 essential vitamins and nutrients. Research has shown that one in three people in developing countries are adversely affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Addressing the problem of hunger is the single point where we can leverage relief for all humanitarian issues.
Our very helpful runners.
As we walked into the assembly room, I couldn’t get over how organized everything was. In the back you had your box packers who packed, then loaded the boxes onto the truck, followed by a long table of scales and fancy machines that sealed each bag in a matter of seconds. This station was perfect for those who couldn’t stand for long periods of time. In the front of the room were several assembly tables set up for six people. Each one of us put something in the bag, while two people held the bag under the funnel and then put it in a box to be picked up and carried over to the weight and seal table by our runners, aka: kids ranging from 5-16. In that first hour and a half, we managed to package 16,000 meals! By the end of the day, we used every resource that we had and packaged 32,128 meals, even though there were only 94 of us working the second shift. On top of packaging over 30,000 meals, over $9,000 was donated to Stop Hunger Now. It was truly extraordinary, not to mention fun, working with over 200 people all for the same cause. I look forward to this opportunity again next year!

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