I’m at the Lake Lanier Islands north of Atlanta, Georgia ready to engage approximately 200 top executives of a major corporation in a meal packaging event. Working together, at the end of the day, they will have helped provide meals that we will send to Europe for refugees from Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine.
I’ve been engaged in engaging others to do meal packaging events since 2009 and, more important to me than the number of meals I’ve packed is the number of volunteers I’ve engaged.
I’ve had people at these events suggest to me that it would be more effective to send the money that it costs to have an event straight to that country so they could buy food there. And I reply, “Of course, I agree. But then, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to gather with all your friends and, probably, for the first time in your life, roll up your sleeves and help feed the hungry.”
Here are the five reasons I love meal packing events:
1. They create unity. I have packaged meals with people of every race, sex, gender identification, sexual orientation, national origin, native language, religion, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other characteristic. And guess what? People enjoy each other’s company when they are rallied around a single vision to help the poor. Together, we make a difference.
2. No special skills needed. You don’t have to be able to run a marathon, drive a sixteen-penny nail in two strokes, or even read or write. Just show up; I’ll find a task for you that will make you feel like you’ve a difference.
3. It’s always good day to do good deed. At the end of the day, you’ve helped someone. I believe we are hard wired to help our neighbors in need and believe that was what was so hard on people during the pandemic; it was hard to provide physical assistance for people who needed help. I can help you help others.
4. I’m around people at their best. I’d like to take credit for that phrase, but it was a young lady that worked for The Outreach Program. When I asked her what she liked about doing events, that was her reply: “I get to be around people when they are at their best.” There is joy in serving others.
5. I know my “why”. I get to keep my promise I made to a starving girl almost 20 years ago. I was in Nicaragua and a beautiful, malnourished five-year old girl crawled up into my arms and whispered in my ear, “Feed me, I’m starving.” I made a promise to her, to God and to myself that I would do whatever I could for the rest of my life to feed hungry people.
If you watch the news tomorrow or follow some social media people, you will assume the world is going to hell-in-a-handbasket.
But if you could hang with me, you’d see 200 of the brightest executives in the nation roll up their sleeves, dance along to some great music, laugh, sing, and do good.
Now, if you can help me figure out how to take this to Congress and get them to package meals, I’d be about the happiest person on the planet.
P.S. I work for The Outreach Program, and I can take these events almost anywhere so if you want to unite people, I can help. Check out, www.outreachprogram.org, sometime. We provide a future for the world’s most vulnerable by providing safe water, food, medical care, and education.