United Way Mobilizes Volunteers to Make 15,000 Meals for Families in Need
15 New Hampshire Food Pantries Benefit
Nashua, NH (April 9, 2021) — The United Way of Greater Nashua kicked off the first of five 2021 Days of Caring events in a big way at the Adult Learning Center on April 7. In just six hours, about 20 volunteers packaged 15,000 shelf-stable meals to help many Southern New Hampshire food pantries stay stocked throughout the spring and summer months.
“In these times of increased food insecurity, we are very grateful to be able to do this for the community,” said United Way President Mike Apfelberg. “We produced an impressive 7,500 meals of rice and beans and 7,500 meals of healthy breakfast oatmeal to help ensure that no family is turned away empty-handed at one of our community food pantries. Our partnership with The Outreach Program, along with our dozens of volunteers, made it possible to do this for just about $.25 per meal.”
“This event gives us the opportunity to contemplate that the percentage of people who miss a meal in a day increased over 200% since the start of COVID-19.,” said Samantha Cassista, United Way of Greater Nashua Director of Corporate Partnerships.
Music played and the mood was upbeat as masked volunteers stood at long tables and funneled rice and beans or dried oatmeal into sealable plastic bags. Mathew Martin from The Outreach Program acted as supervisor and impromptu master of ceremonies, motivating volunteers with light banter and friendly competition to see who could fill a box with 60 meals the fastest.
“It was well worth the effort,” said volunteer and St. Joseph’s Hospital Director of Marketing Tim McMahon. “Knowing you’re feeding 15,000 individuals, and, more importantly, that the meals stay in our community, makes volunteering that much more impactful.” All the meals were boxed and loaded onto St. Joseph’s Mobile Health Unit for delivery to area food pantries.
Support for the event came from major sponsors St. Joseph’s Hospital and People’s United Bank, The Nashua Teacher’s Union and with 14 other fantastic annual Day of Caring sponsors including Nashua Family Chiropractic, Eaton & Berube Insurance, Eprint Inc. to name a few. Volunteers came from St. Joseph’s Hospital as well as Physician’s Resource Limited in Merrimack, Santander Bank, and the Greater Nashua community. Space for the event was donated by The Adult Learning Center.
The Outreach Program, the nonprofit that created recipes and the system for making highly nutritious prepared meals, supplied food, training, and packaging for the event.
Food pantries that benefit from the United Way’s Food Packaging Day include End 68 Hours in Litchfield, Nashua, Hollis/Brookline, Milford, St. John Neumann, Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Tolles St. Mission, Corpus Christi, Adult Learning Center, St. James United Methodist, Salvation Army of Nashua, Share Outreach, St. John Parish and Alvirne High Students.
United Way Days of Caring help community members take an active role in a hands-on project that makes an important difference. The next Day of Caring will be the Annual Community Baby Shower in July.
United Way of Greater Nashua has served the community since 1930. United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. It serves as the backbone nonprofit for the nonprofits of the 11 communities of Greater Nashua. The organization has a 4 star and Platinum rating from GuideStar and Charity Navigator, recognizing its accountability and transparency. More information can be found at www.unitedwaynashua.org.