We helped “Send Hunger Packing” on 11/5/22

Rotarians and friends celebrate loading the KCAH trailer after a morning packing 32,000 meals in 100 minutes!

Update as of December 3, 2022: Thanks to Sara Maddock, we have a video documenting the event on November 5. Here is a link to the google drive folder that contains the video along with a wrap-out handout and a copy of the slides displayed in the cafeteria that day: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/16xkMYr-mG-ULDbREmCoi5Yohu_jLETJM

Update as of later in November: Note to donors, packers, and friends:

Below is the message I sent to the other members of the committee after the event on Saturday, November 5th, 2022. It will bring you up to speed on what we accomplished.

Thanks

John White, Co-chair


 

Committee Colleagues:

Our inaugural food packing service project is “in the books.” It was hectic but energizing and fun.

The day had a rocky start about 7:15 when the main entrance to the school wasn’t open. Fortunately, we were able to gain entrance in time for Mike Burwell (KCAH) and me to Zoom with the early morning anchor on the WDIV newscast.

Over the next hour, some volunteers who came in early helped us unload the KCAH trailer, set up the lobby for registration, and the cafeteria with a number of packing stations. Those volunteers waiting to enter enjoyed coffee, cider, and donuts. At the scheduled start time of 9:00, we started metering in the packers to learn their roles on the assembly lines.

Within 20 minutes or so, we were in full operation. Thanks to all the committee members who helped out in the various roles or offered support and guidance.

Overall, about 200 packers (versus our goal of 150) were engaged. We had a good number of Rotarians but many volunteers were youthful. Rotaractors, Interactors, and National Honor Society members were well represented. We appreciated those who brought along their parents.

Supplies at each station were replenished as needed until the bags of supplies were exhausted. At that point, we began consolidating stations and removing equipment no longer needed. As our packers left, they were treated to leftover refreshments and Rotary tote bags.

We barely exceeded our goal of $10,500 but were able to produce about 32,000 meals (vs. a goal of 30,000) by about 10:40. It took only another hour for some dedicated committee members and their helpers to break down all the tables, pack up the other equipment, sweep the floors, and load the KCAH trailer. Well before noon, the facility was as clean and neat as we found it. Mike Burwell deserves a great deal of credit for his equipment, experience, and expertise to convert a bare floor and rookie volunteers into an efficient and productive assembly line in a single morning.

With 36 packets per box, we packed almost 150 boxes. All but 30 were put into the KCAH trailer for shipment to address national and international needs. Recent destinations are Florida, Puerto Rico, Ghana, Guatemala, and Haiti. The 30 boxes left behind will be distributed among the eight local nonprofits who responded positively to our offer for packets.

Thanks to you, our donors, the media, our venue, and our packers. I am planning to make a more detailed report, including photos, at our club’s luncheon meeting on Wednesday. Until then, feel free to visit the Google Drive folder where I have stored some documents (like the slide show at the event) and some early photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BNKZ2-veuvvy3CtKHUcTgoIr0eWdJbfx?usp=sharing

The next major steps are to deliver the remaining boxes of packets and send out bunches of thank you notes. I am even planning on asking our volunteers to complete a brief survey.

I will be scheduling a follow-up meeting of our committee with the standard agenda items of what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what we can do better if there is a next time.

Thanks to each of you for all your help in putting on what may be the biggest public image splash for Rotary in Ann Arbor in recent memory.

Hope everyone was able to sleep well on Saturday night. I certainly did!

John