Join The Pack Volunteers to Pack 100,000 Meals for Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 10, 2017) Join The Pack is coming back this spring.

Food For The Poor is inviting volunteers from throughout South Florida to take part in its second annual community meal packing event at Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton.

This year's Join The Pack, held in partnership with Feed My Starving Children, will span over two days, April 28 and 29.

Volunteers will pack 100,000 specially formulated meals for starving children in Haiti.

Food For The Poor also hopes to raise enough funds to send 3 million meals to families in Caribbean and Latin America countries served by the charity.

This relief comes at a critical time as Haiti is bracing for food shortages in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which ravaged the country's southern peninsula on Oct. 4.

Individual volunteers can join an existing team or create their own team to raise funds to purchase the dehydrated foods used to complete the MannaPack meal packs. Each team will consist of at least 10 volunteers committed to raising a total of $500. Businesses, community organizations, churches, youth groups, students and families are encouraged to form teams.

Packing sessions will be from to 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, April 28, and from 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

Thomas Abblett, an elder in Hammock Street Church in Boca Raton, said the event offers people a wonderful opportunity to help Haiti locally. Hammock Street Church is one of the first community groups to sign up to pack meals for the event.

"We're commanded to reach out and feed the poor," Abblett said. "You're able to do something tangible. You can feel putting that MannaPack together and then you can see the end result, being partnered with reputable organizations such as Food For The Poor and Feed My Starving Children. Things get where they are intended to go."

Feed My Starving Children is a Christian nonprofit organization that sends prepackaged meals to more than 70 countries. Feed My Starving Children and Food For The Poor teamed up for the first time in 2009. That partnership added up to almost 83 million meals a year in 2016.

At the inaugural Join The Pack last year, more than 500 volunteers participated, packing 101,088 lifesaving meals to feed nearly 300 starving children in Haiti three times a day every day for a year. Enough money was raised by generous donors to provide an additional 1.9 million meals that were sent to needy families in countries served by Food For The Poor.

The easy-to-make, easy-to-transport meals put together by Join The Pack volunteers are an answer to countless prayers. For children in danger of starvation, these meals are like manna from heaven.

Volunteers will work in assembly line fashion to fill plastic bags with cups of white rice and soy pellets, scoops of freeze-dried vegetables and chicken flavoring that contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients a malnourished child needs to survive.

Once prepared with boiling water, each MannaPack provides six generous servings of nutritious food.

"People always are looking for meaningful ways they can get involved with Food For The Poor, and this is a wonderful opportunity to do something on a large scale with local volunteers," said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. "Words cannot express the gratitude Food For The Poor has for volunteers helping us provide a steady supply of nutritious food to feed thousands of children in Haiti. This is a tremendous blessing and many lives will be saved as a result."

DaVita Healthcare, which had one of the top two fundraising teams last year, will participate in this year's event and is a presenting sponsor. DaVita is a large healthcare organization that provides dialysis to kidney patients throughout the country.

Bravo Supermarkets, an independent neighborhood grocer with more than 70 stores from New York to Florida, also is excited to sponsor the event and field a packing team. They have 17 locations in South Florida.

"We are participating in this event because we become part of the communities we serve. We feel so blessed by God that we want to share our blessings with the most needy," Juan and Eliza Diaz, owners of Bravo Supermarkets, said in a statement.

Other sponsors include: Payments For Change, Hormel Foods, Wells Fargo, HopeGel, Advent School and Vitas Healthcare.

Food For The Poor is looking for businesses or individuals to form Join The Pack teams of 10 to raise $500 for the event. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information on Join The Pack, please call Cassandra Celestin at 954-427-2222, ext. 4020. Or, to register for the event, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/jointhepack.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
michaelt@foodforthepoor.com