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A volunteer packs food items for the hungry.

The tables were stacked high with groceries: pasta, peanut butter, cans of peaches and beans. In front, an assembly line of volunteer workers packed them in brown paper bags and passed them along to be loaded into cartons for delivery to a food bank.

“It’s fun,” said 66-year-old Ronna Davis of Stoughton, Mass., “and it’s a way to help people in need.”

Davis, who had heard about the project on the radio, showed up with her lifelong friend, Esther Kaplan, also of Stoughton. “I’d been looking for a volunteer activity to get involved with,” said Davis, “and this seemed like a great opportunity. I’m at a point in life where I want to be a good role model for my four grandsons.”

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The two women were among dozens of volunteers who gathered on a warm and sunny afternoon to help assemble some of the 50,000 meals (all donated by various businesses) that will be delivered to the Greater Boston Food Bank, a nonprofit clearinghouse for food.

The meal-packing project was just one of the volunteer opportunities offered during the Community Day of Service that kicked off AARP’s twice-yearly Life@50+ National Event and Expo in Boston on Thursday.

Throughout the day, hundreds of volunteers donated time to help worthwhile organizations around the city, among them Cradles to Crayons (which serves low-income and homeless children) and Kit Clark Senior Services (which helps older adults live independently).

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Among the food packers was AARP’s own Pepper Schwartz.

“The Boston Community Day of Service offers members and others an opportunity to discover real possibilities in their lives through volunteer efforts in the local community,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, AARP Foundation president. “Giving back to the people of Boston enriches the lives of both those in need and those who volunteer.”

Sponsored by AARP’s Drive to End Hunger, the meal-packing activity will continue throughout the three-day event, which brings together tens of thousands of AARP members and others for educational seminars, exhibits, films and entertainment.

Photo credit: Ian Cunningham (2)

 

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