4,500+ Volunteers to Pack 1.5 Million Meals for 9/11 Day Of Service

4,500+ Volunteers to Pack 1.5 Million Meals for 9/11 Day Of Service

Courtesy of LongIsland.com

On September 11, 2023, more than 4,500 New Yorkers will spend the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy supporting the community, by packing 1.5 million healthy, non-perishable meals aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.  The meals will be donated by the event’s organizer, the nonprofit 9/11 Day, that day to City Harvest and Food Bank For New York City to support individuals and families at risk of hunger across the New York City area.

According to Feeding America, one in four Americans experience food insecurity every day.  

Now in its 7th year, the New York City Meal Pack for 9/11 Day, which will be staged over the course of two days, on Monday, September 11, and Tuesday, September 12, has grown to become the largest volunteer service project held in America in observance of the 9/11 anniversary.

More than 120 companies from the NYC – NJ -CT area plan to send employee volunteers to the event, including major sponsors JPMorgan Chase, Citi, KPMG, Mizuho, FactSet, Fox Corporation, Major League Baseball, Intercontinental Exchange, Pfizer, Flagstar Bank, and Merrill Lynch. Helping 9/11 Day co-host this year’s NYC event are the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, City Harvest, Food Bank For New York City, NYC Service and New York Cares.

Nationally, the 9/11 Day Meal Pack program is being supported by AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, Citi, United Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., and KPMG.

day of service

20,000 Meal Pack Volunteers Will Pack More Than Six Million Meals Nationwide

Nationwide, the NYC Meal Pack for 9/11 Day is one of 18 large-scale volunteer service projects that 9/11 Day is staging this September, with support from the AmeriCorps, which oversees the nation’s federal volunteer service programs.  Across the nation, more than 20,000 volunteers, representing about 400 U.S. companies, prominent nonprofits, professional sports leagues, faith-based groups, military veterans and others, will join together in unity and in observance of 9/11 and Hunger Action Month, to pack a record 6.5 million meals for food insecure Americans.

All of the meals will be donated to local food banks, many of them affiliated with Feeding America.  9/11 Day is sourcing the food ingredients for the meals and receiving logistical support from meal packing partners US Hunger, Meals of Hope, Kids Around The World and The Pack Shack.

9/11 Day and AmeriCorps will be helping to support 9/11-related meal packing volunteer events for the first time on 11 college campuses, including at University of Alabama Birmingham, Illinois State University, Monroe College, Prairie View A&M University, Ross State University, University of New England, Boise State University, Harding University, Morgan State University, The Ohio State University, and University of North Georgia.

The nonprofit 9/11 Day was founded six months after the September 11, 2001, attacks by friends David Paine and Jay Winuk, who have dedicated their lives to transforming the anniversary of 9/11 into a nationwide day of doing good, in tribute to those lost and injured, and in honor of the many who bravely rose in service in response to the 9/11 tragedy.  Winuk lost his brother Glenn J. Winuk on 9/11. Glenn was an attorney and volunteer firefighter/EMT who was killed in the line of duty in the collapse of the World Trade Center South Tower.

9/11 Day Now America’s Largest Day of Service

In 2009, 9/11 Day successfully secured passage of legislation in the U.S. Congress, and a Presidential Proclamation, that officially established September 11th as an annually-observed National Day of Service and Remembrance under federal law, and which is now the nation’s largest annual day of charitable engagement. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is the only other federally designated Day of Service. Today, more than 30 million Americans participate in 9/11 Day annually by volunteering, making donations, and doing other “good deeds,” which many Americans now share through social media messages posted on September 11, using the hashtag #IWillFor911Day.

“The 9/11 Day observance is a powerful reminder of the extraordinary sense of unity we experienced after the attacks, and is an important, uplifting and appropriate way for millions of Americans to pay tribute through kindness and acts of service,” said Winuk.

“In the hours, days and weeks immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Americans were able to see that whatever differences we think we have pale in comparison to what we all share as human beings – our innate kindness, compassion and concern for the well-being of others,” Paine added. “9/11 Day is about rekindling that spirit of compassion, and bringing it forward in our lives as a reminder of who we really are as people.”

“Our lives have been shaped by how we, as a country, came together to respond in the wake of 9/11,” said Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps, which provides opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds to serve their country, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, and improve lives and communities.  “Through a spirit of unity and an enduring commitment to our most cherished values, the 9/11 Day of Service provides Americans an opportunity to reflect, remember and take action, knowing we’re unstoppable when we stand together.”

More About 9/11 Day

The 9/11 Day observance was founded in 2002, inspired by the spirit of unity, service and shared humanity that arose in the United States and spread around the world following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Today, the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance – also known as 9/11 Day – stands as a permanent tribute to those lost, injured, and sickened, and those who rose in service in response to the tragedy.  As the single largest day of service in the U.S., 9/11 Day reminds us that coming together in a spirit of kindness, no matter our differences, has the power to change lives and ultimately, our world.  For more information, please contact info@911day.org.

Learn More about Meals of Hope

Ready to make a difference in your community? To learn more about Meals of Hope, read more here. To get you or your organization involved in our next meal packing event, fill out our form here. We can’t wait to hear from you!

FFA members package 50,184 meals during Living to Serve Day

FFA members package 50,184 meals during Living to Serve Day

Courtesy of High Plains Journal
May 1, 2023

The blue corduroy jacket is a familiar symbol of the FFA organization, worn as part of official dress during most FFA activities. Recently at the South Dakota FFA convention in Brookings, as part of a SD FFA Living to Serve Day, members removed their jackets and rolled up their sleeves to help stop hunger in South Dakota.

This service project, supported by funds from Pioneer-Corteva, Rick and Sandy Osterday, and a grant from the National FFA Foundation exemplified the portion of the FFA motto which states “Living to Serve” by teaming up with industry to fund a Meals of Hope, hands on project that combats hunger. SD FFA members and Pioneer-Corteva staff measured, poured, sealed, and boxed 50,184 meals in assembly line fashion throughout the day-long event. Members stopped in between workshops and competitive events throughout convention and left the event knowing that by giving a few minutes of their time they would make a significant difference in the life of a person less fortunate than themselves.

“The FFA organization believes strongly in the fourth line of the FFA Motto “Living to Serve”, which is why we are very excited to receive funds from both Pioneer-Corteva as well as day of event manpower assistance and interaction from their staff,” says Sandy Osterday, presiden of the South Dakota FFA Foundation.

The SD FFA Foundation is proud to support Agricultural Education and the FFA’s mission to make a difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more information about the South Dakota FFA Foundation and South Dakota’s FFA programs, visit www.sdffafoundation.org or follow us on Facebook.

Students Pack 25,000 Meals for Charity

Students Pack 25,000 Meals for Charity

Courtesy of McDonald County Press
May 4, 2023

Students from McDonald County High School and the McDonald County FFA chapter, on April 27, partnered with the national organization, “Meals of Hope,” to pack 25,000 meals for people in need in the local area.

According to the organization’s website, Meals of Hope is a “nonprofit organization that is committed to bringing people together to fight the hunger epidemic.”

Meals of Hope is the only meal-packing organization prioritizing keeping food packed within the United States.

Emily Hutton teaches agriculture at MCHS and is the McDonald County FFA Advisor. She said these packages will go to local food pantries throughout McDonald County — Anderson, Noel, Pineville, and some local churches and other organizations.

“It’s going to be chicken and rice vegetable soup that we’re packaging. Each bag has six servings in it. So the kids are actually going to measure all the ingredients. We have to weigh it, seal them, put on our stickers and box them. Then distribute them to the community,” said Hutton.

According to Hutton, Meals of Hope sent all the supplies, and the students prepped and packaged the ingredients.

Students had five options to choose from. The project’s senior officers picked the dish they thought would be the most versatile and easiest to prepare. They settled on “chicken and rice soup” because it is the easiest to prepare.

Maggie Pratt is the McDonald County FFA chapter president. She has aspirations to study the field of poultry science after high school.

“This project was something we had heard about,” said Pratt. “So we did our research and kind of looked into it. And we thought, ‘Well, we really want to do this.'”

Braxton Bishop is the vice president of the FFA chapter. After graduation, he’ll attend the University of Columbia for animal science and plans to pursue a veterinary degree to treat large animals such as bovine and equestrian animals. Together with Pratt, they share ideas and collaborate on various projects.

“Anything she has a question on, we think about it together,” said Bishop. “She did all the paperwork for it, and I did the heavy labor.”

The students formed assembly lines along rows of tables with measuring spoons, weighing scales, funnels, and package labeling. There were 10-gallon buckets containing various blends of spices, rice, and dry vegetables. They placed them at the beginning of the tables, and students wore PPE and systematically passed the packets over to the following students. They were racing against the clock, and within four hours, 150 students packed 25,000 meals of chicken and rice soup. That is roughly 104 packages per minute.

This was an experience these students will never forget.

“We have never done this before,” said Hutton. “We hope that this tradition will continue for years to come.”

Learn More about Meals of Hope

Ready to make a difference in your community? To learn more about Meals of Hope, read more here. To get you or your organization involved in our next meal packing event, fill out our form here. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tate High Students Prepare 57,600 Meals For The Needy

Tate High Students Prepare 57,600 Meals For The Needy

Courtesy of NorthEscambia

Tate High School FFA and volunteers worked Friday to package 57,600 meals for the community through Meals of Hope.

“Food insecurity is real within Escambia County,” said Austin Courson, agricultural educator and FFA advisor. “It’s important to FFA and other local organizations to partner together and help fight food insecurity for many within the Pensacola region. This gives our students hands-on experience, while encouraging them to work together to meet the needs of our community.”

They exceeded their goal of feeding 55,000 with the Meals of Hope project by packaging these meals in under three hours.

All the packaged meals will be distributed to families in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Sponsors include the Florida Farm Bureau, Feeding the Gulf Coast, Big John’s Heating and Air, The Mathes Group, and Pensacola Energy.

Volunteers included current students in Tate’s FFA, softball, baseball, football, Early Childhood Academy and Tate FFA Alumni.

Meals of Hope is a nonprofit organization that is committed to bringing people together to fight the hunger epidemic.

To see the event gallery, click here.

Learn More about Meals of Hope

Ready to make a difference in your community? To learn more about Meals of Hope, read more here. To get you or your organization involved in our next meal packing event, fill out our form here. We can’t wait to hear from you!

FFA Packs 35,000+ Meals To Help Fight Food Insecurity

FFA Packs 35,000+ Meals To Help Fight Food Insecurity

Courtesy of Clemson News
March 31, 2023
PELION, South Carolina — Raised by a single mother and having experienced homelessness as a youth, Teddy Tripp learned a thing or two about young people dealing with food insecurity.

And during a recent event at the Advanced Agribusiness Research Center at Pelion High School, Tripp helped coordinate a massive effort by young people around South Carolina to deal with food insecurity — in a very positive way — with nearly 200 FFA members packing more than 35,000 meals to be distributed to South Carolinians in need.

“Being an individual who came from a background when I was on the receiving end of those meals at one point when I was younger, I know what a lot of these kids in need are going through,” Tripp said. “So, for young people to take this time to be able to give back to maybe one of their friends or maybe a close relative or neighbor that these meals will impact, it speaks volumes for these young people to give up their time to be able to do this.”

Tripp is an event coordinator with Meals of Hope, a non-profit organization that partners with other organizations to fight food insecurity in the United States, operating food pantries in its home city of Naples, Fla., and hosting packaging events such as this one nationwide.

In this case, the March 23 event in the Midlands was aligned with FFA Day of Service, and South Carolina FFA members from across the state came together to focus on fulfilling a portion of the FFA motto, “living to serve,” as they partnered with Meals of Hope.

And not only did they meet their goal of 35,000 meals; they went above and beyond — packing 37,404 total meals that were set to be picked up the following morning and distributed to South Carolinians in need in Dillon, Florence, Marlboro, Hampton, Bamberg and Barnwell counties.

South Carolina FFA Executive Director Jillian Lash said that while local FFA chapters are often known for service they do in their own communities, this year’s Day of Service focused on making a larger impact on the statewide problem of food insecurity — meaning all 37,404 meals are staying in the state of South Carolina.
“Meals of Hope are doing outstanding work, and it seemed like a great opportunity for our FFA members to have that hands-on experience that Agricultural Education is known for: to putting their interest into helping their communities — and what better way than feeding them,” Lash said. “This has been a year in the making, a year of planning, so it’s amazing to finally see it today and finally see those students in there with their hairnets and working hard to make sure that those meals are ready for South Carolinians.”

And from Tripp’s perspective, knowing the difference that those meals can make in the lives of other young people around the state makes the work by these FFA members even more impactful.

“Ninety percent of the children who have perfect attendance in lower-income schools are children that are going without meals at home, because they know when they come to school, this may be the one or two meals that they get. So, with food insecurity, you’re asking a child to go without or be present in something and act like they are happy, when on the inside they don’t know how to control what’s going on. So, food insecurity is more than just something physical where a child must go without; it plays a huge role in the mental development and how it impacts that child, as well,” Tripp said.

The event was funded in part by a grant from National FFA for National Day of Service, as well as private grants and donations from around the state, and South Carolina FFA State President Drake Ariail said the packaging event epitomized key FFA values such as inclusivity and service.

“The beautiful thing about our organization is it’s for anybody — not just those from a farming background, which stood out to me because I don’t come from a farming background — and the FFA advocates for so much more than just agriculture. We advocate for leadership from people in our society, and that leadership carries over to our agricultural industry,” Ariail said. “The FFA’s name was changed … because we wanted everyone to know that the FFA welcomed all people.”

As Ariail alluded to, the letters “FFA” stand for Future Farmers of America — and are a part of its history and heritage that will never change — but FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers; FFA also welcomes members who aspire to other careers, as well. Thus, the name of the organization was updated in 1988 after a vote of national convention delegates to reflect the growing diversity and new opportunities in the industry of agriculture.

Today, the National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. In South Carolina, FFA is the agricultural education component of youth development, which is offered and operated, along with South Carolina 4-H, by the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service.

In South Carolina FFA, the total membership in 2021-2022 was 9,985 members across 118 FFA chapters and 22 Middle school FFA programs. Nationally, there are more than 850,00 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Lauren Knight, South Carolina FFA State Vice President, who got involved in FFA as a freshman at Swansea High School and is now a freshman at Clemson University, said the Day of Service event was exactly the kind of work that the organization prides itself in doing.

“FFA’s motto is ‘learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve,’ so in South Carolina we have always harped on that last little phrase — living to serve — so service is a big part of the FFA, whether that be on more of a local level or the statewide level like today,” she said. “And really, FFA is all about leadership and bringing those agriculture students into an area that they can flourish.”

Learn More about Meals of Hope

Ready to make a difference in your community? To learn more about Meals of Hope, read more here. To get you or your organization involved in our next meal packing event, fill out our form here. We can’t wait to hear from you!