BROOKINGS – The Brookings Area United Way kicked off its annual fundraising drive with its first-ever Unite in the Fight Against Hunger campaign to pack 50,000 meals.
Hundreds of volunteers worked in two shifts at the Swiftel Center on Monday. Some tables were filled with people from one group or organization, but some tables had volunteers from several places working together.
The volunteers packed one of two meal bags: apple cinnamon oatmeal or mac and cheese. The mac and cheese has noodles, soy, and cheese with extra nutrients and vitamins. The oatmeal had scoops of oats, apples, cinnamon and soy.
“The cinnamon has extra vitamins and nutrients in it for the extra boost they need,” said Leon Sporrer, event coordinator for The Outreach Program.
Heidi Gullickson, director of the BAUW, said more than 230 volunteers signed up, from 10-years-old all the way up. Volunteers came from civic organizations, schools like Elkton Public, and lots of businesses.
“We have a lot of work groups, which it’s great to see employers will allow workers time away from the office to give back to their community,” Gullickson said.
The volunteers were having fun. Many smiles could be seen, and hoots and woo-hoo’s rang out when a box was filled.
Sporrer announced that the workers had packed 4,000 meals in 15 minutes and had packed 13,000 meals by the 45-minute mark. Each bag they packed could make six meals. The bags were packed in a box, and each box held 216 meals. All went to local organizations which have programs for food insecurity, Gullickson said. Most will stay in Brookings, but some will go to White and Volga.