Orlando Volunteers Give 100 Percent, Pack Thousands of Meals for the Poor

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Dec. 20, 2018)  Thousands of children in Guatemala will have food to eat thanks to the work of more than 170 Orlando-area residents who volunteered at Food For The Poor's first Join The Pack event in Central Florida.

The high-spirited volunteers flowed into the Englewood Neighborhood Center on a chilly Saturday and took turns filling plastic bags with cups of rice, soy, and flavoring containing essential vitamins and nutrients. The dehydrated food mixtures for the MannaPack meals were provided by the Minnesota-based organization Feed My Starving Children.

As lively music played in the background, the enthusiastic teams packed 47,524 meals during two, two-hour sessions.

James Cleveland, owner of Insurance Services of Central Florida, committed his staff of 10 to Join The Pack and said the event was a very positive experience.

"This was a nice event and I am looking forward to more of these," Cleveland said. "It's easy to write a check to support a cause, but to show up and actually put the food in the bags makes it real. It's a fantastic feeling."

Some of the participants at the packing event allowed their children to help with the packing. Sammy and Colin, 6, may not fully understand their part in making lifesaving meals to feed hungry children, but they enjoyed being there.

"I like using this sealer, it's a lot of fun," Sammy said, as he flashed a smile through missing teeth.

"I really like being here with my friends," Colin said.

Several corporate sponsors provided teams to work on five assembly lines, such as Matthew Johnson, of Wells Fargo, who said the event exceeded his expectations.

"We are illuminating the culture of care," Johnson said. "Seeing the various companies and organizations coming together and working together to help alleviate suffering for humankind is something special. I feel like I've done something grand and I would definitely do this again."

In addition to packing food, many of the volunteers who attended the food pack brought with them a new unwrapped toy. Hammock Street Church and the Holistic Chamber of Commerce of Boca Raton, were not at the event, but helped to provide nearly 200 new unwrapped toys that Food For The Poor donated. The toys are being distributed to Orlando-area children in great need this holiday season with the help of the City of Orlando Neighborhood Centers, such as the Englewood Neighborhood Center, where some of its children received a new toy on Monday.

Food For The Poor Vice President Mark Khouri attended Join The Pack-Orlando. He rolled up his sleeves and helped carry packed boxes to pallets for shipment. He also expressed special words of thanks to the volunteers and to the Feed My Starving Children staff.

"All of you here have helped the poorest of the poor, because every single bag that you packed is a lifesaving source of food," Khouri said. "I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for volunteering your time with us, thank you very much."

Event Sponsors: Wells Fargo Bank, Sky Light Roofing, Anne Rue Interiors, and Fresh Kitchen. Teams: Anne Rue Interiors, Be Human, Bravo & Friends, Give Unexpectedly! Orlando Utilities Commission, Renaissance Charter School, Sky Light Roofing, Team ISCF (Insurance Services of Central Florida), The Winning Team and Wells Fargo.

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. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Wanda Wright

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079