At the Patty Cownie Packaging Center, each volunteer will package about 540 meals in a 2-hour shift. That is equivalent to feeding two starving kids for an entire year! Come by yourself or invite your family, friends or coworkers. Please consider bringing any size donation as you will use about $100 worth of ingredients during your shift (ingredients are purchased by Meals from the Heartland, not donated). Help support our mission and keep bellies full. We are better together!

Special Note about Health & Safety Precautions: Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, please read the following carefully as you will be required to agree to the new COVID-19 volunteer safety standards and procedures BEFORE choosing a shift on the calendar.

  • All volunteers must be 14 years or older or at least 8 years old and accompanied by an adult. We will be enforcing a 2 child per adult ratio for children ages 8-13.
  • All volunteers will be required to have their temperature taken prior to entering the packaging center. Anyone with a temperature of 100°F or above will be asked to return home.
  • You must bring a clean mask (a bandana or scarf is not acceptable) to wear during your shift.
  • Maximum # of volunteers per shift is 45.
  • If you need to cancel your shift, please let us know ASAP to allow your spot to be filled by another volunteer.

If you or anyone in your household has experienced the following symptoms in the past 72 hours we ask that you please stay/return home: runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache and/or body aches, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, fever and/or chills, loss of sense of smell and/or taste or sinus congestion.

Older adults and people who serve underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness and should stay home.


  • Hands must be washed before your volunteer shift.
  • IMPORTANT: Hands MUST be re-washed if the following happens:
    • Touching of face
    • After a sneeze or cough
    • Touching of personal items (phone, keys, wallet, etc.)
  • Please remain as far apart as possible at all times if you come from separate households.
  • Gloves will be provided and must be worn throughout your shift.
  • Hands MUST be washed after your shift before returning home.
  • If you want to take pictures you must wait until your shift is over before touching your phone.


If you are healthy and agree to these terms, click here to sign up.

Thank you for your understanding as we prioritize the health of staff and volunteers. Together we will continue our mission to save starving children.


Do I have to pay to package meals?

Donations are not required at our open packaging events but encouraged as we have to purchase all of our ingredients. You may donate online, or you may donate during a packaging shift using debit/credit cards, cash or check.

May I bring children?

All volunteers must be 14 years or older or at least 8 years old and accompanied by an adult. We will be enforcing a 2 child per adult ratio for children ages 8-13.

How should I dress?

Wear casual and comfortable shoes as you may get dusty, and you will be standing on a concrete floor. We recommend you leave your purse, backpack, jewelry and beverage in the car. You will receive a hairnet and beard net (if needed) at the Patty Cownie Packaging Center.

Are masks and gloves required?

Volunteers will be required to bring a clean mask from home (a bandana or scarf is not acceptable). Gloves will be provided. Masks and gloves must be worn at all times during packaging shifts.

May I sign up as a group?


May I bring my service animal?

Yes, but … As a food packaging organization, it is our policy that no service animal be allowed in any area where ingredients are being packaged. Service animals will be allowed in common areas where labeling or box making duties generally take place. View Service Animal Policy for our written policy.

Help keep bellies full and smiles on faces.