For three days, thousands of volunteers came together in Charlotte, North Carolina, to pack nutritious meals, have fun and make a significant impact in the lives of the 9% of North Carolinians age 50+ who face the threat of hunger each day. The goal: pack and donate one million meals to be distibuted statewide.
We kicked off the things in Greensboro at United Healthcare where 250 employees packed 60,000 meals in less than eight hours. NASCAR great Richard Petty stopped by to support the cause and cheer on the volunteers. In addition, Smithfield delivered 30,000 pounds of protein to accompany the meals.
On day two, NASCAR fans, local corporate employees and volunteers of all ages (the youngest was 4-years-old) swarmed the Charlotte Convention Center. With more than 50 volunteer stations packing and grooving to live music, everyone smiled, sang, laughed and some even danced to disco tunes and won prizes.
Volunteers got a special treat when four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, AARP Fitness Ambassador and tennis legend Martina Navratilova and NASCAR’s Miss Sprint Cup all donned hairnets and aprons to pitch in toward the million meal goal. Our younger volunteers were eager to meet disney star Billy Unger, who also packaged meals with fans.
By the end of the day 228,000 were boxed and ready to go to North Carolina regional food banks.
Day 3 was a dual effort. Volunteers continued packed 123,120 meals at the convention center where award-winning sports broadcaster and AARP Community Ambassador James “JB” Brown huddled volunteers and gave a knute rockne-inspired pep talk to help us complete our goal.
Meanwhile, at the Hendrick Motorsports campus, nearly 200 nascar fans raced each other in mini packaging competitions, ending in 35,000 meals. Fans were also treated to a lively pit crew packaging competition between the four Hendrick Motorsport teams, with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team edging out all the others to claim victory with 972 meals packed in 15 minutes.
All total, there were 1 million meals packaged and donated to help feed north carolina families. Thank you to the efforts of so many, thousands of older North Carolinians who rely on local food banks to help put food on the table may now know where their next meal will be coming from.
Photo credit: Brian Berry
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