The day started with the rhythmic beeping of a supply truck slowly backing down the driveway. Soon a crew began unloading large bags of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and tubs of supplies. After the 12 stations were assembled, the noise and activity levels quickly increased as masks, gloves, and hairnets were handed out, and individuals stepped into to their assigned roles. With the strike of a gong (yes, a real one), the Dairyland team and their families got to work assembling meals while lively music and healthy competition filled the space.
The Dairyland Picnic
Every July the Dairyland team and their families gather for a summer afternoon of food and fun. This year was even more special because we had the opportunity to partner with Rise Against Hunger, volunteering our time to pack meals for others affected by food insecurity. We divided into groups – measuring and combining ingredients into individual meal packets before weighing, sealing, and boxing them for distribution around the world. In just under two hours, 52 people packaged 18,576 meals.
Rise Against Hunger is an organization that is “growing a global movement to end hunger by empowering communities, nourishing lives and responding to emergencies.” Across the globe there are 821-million people who don’t have enough food to eat (Rise Against Hunger), with 41-million experiencing “life-threatening hunger” (World Food Program). The need for nutrient-dense nourishment is critical. Over the past year, issues like conflict, extreme weather and poverty have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, heightening the need for food and relief. Rise Against Hunger not only provides short-term emergency supplies—like the meals our team packaged—but they also work to empower communities toward sustainable self-sufficiency.
Volunteering together helped meet a critical need in our world and allowed us to think beyond ourselves, but it was also a great experience for our team to do together – exemplifying what it means to Live Engaged. Everyone—kids, teens, and adults—easily found a role to play, whether ladling ingredients into funnels, labeling individual packages, or restocking heavy bags of supplies. We laughed, bantered, and connected as a team while the music reverberated and a sense of meaningful accomplishment settled around the room.
Logan said of the event:
“This event was so cool to be a part of! All my coworkers and our families were in the same room working for a pretty inspiring movement. I genuinely felt fulfilled and that I was on a mission as I just hauled bags of rice. I couldn’t help but keep going!”
Laurie later commented:
“What made the experience most meaningful for me was that an engineer and a homemaker could work shoulder-to-shoulder together for two hours and accomplish so much for a common good. When I looked around at the end of the event, I found I had tears in my eyes at the beauty of everyone working together. What I thought was a simple food drive turned into one of the most meaningful things I have done in 2021.”