Crystal C., Volunteer

“Great way to pay it forward and have fun doing it.”

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Keith O., Volunteer

“Volunteered with Meals from the Heartland many times and I’ve always had a blast while working on such an amazing project. Volunteer once and I guarantee you’ll want to come back.”

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Christian C., Volunteer

“Wonderful experience helping those less fortunate and feeding others! Fun atmosphere and tremendous staff!”

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Shari J., Volunteer

“My 3rd time doing this, it is fun. The team leads are very organized and helpful and just make it a worthwhile experience. A great opportunity to help others.”

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Three Generations Find Joy in Serving

As the Christmas season drew closer, I began to wonder: how can three generations of our family (some from out-of-state) serve others so we look beyond ourselves? Meals from the Heartland came immediately to mind for the way it encompasses compassion, action and impact.

Once our reservation was made, I decided to keep the details a surprise. As our shift neared, intrigue and anticipation of family members escalated. It was so fun to see! The night of our shift, most of our family enjoyed the blessing of riding together. Others were simply given the address and asked to meet up by a certain time.

“Wow, what a great idea!” “What does this experience look like?” and “I didn’t even know this was here.” were among the sentiments shared upon discovering what our family time entailed.

In the spirit of transparency, I must admit: I was a little nervous and wondered how well we’d work together – how grace-filled and patient with one another we’d be. Silent prayer transformed anxiety into peacefulness as I observed God work. Our family proceeded slowly, confidently and with our senses of humor activated. Our tendency to be competitive – to seal more bags or pack more boxes than other groups – faded into the background along with the Christmas music. Free of pressure and captured by the joy found in serving, some of us shared stories and memories while others cracked jokes.

Seeing the wall noting all the countries served by Meals from the Heartland broadened perspectives and motivated us to continue working harmoniously alongside each other until our two-hour shift was over.

Collectively, one of our most memorable moments came from the realization that one bag of Hearty Pack feeds six people. It was beautiful to see that fact sink into each family member’s mind at varying times. It reinforced just how blessed we are, how easily we take our blessings for granted and how humbling it is to be reminded.

Weeks later, we learned that the meals packed two days before Christmas were sent to KY, as part of a disaster relief effort after a massive tornado resulted in widespread severe weather across the region. How meaningful to find out that our efforts helped a community in our own country! Thank you for the opportunity to share our family’s experience and for providing a place to roll up our sleeves and take action.

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P.J. W., Volunteer

“Giving back to the community feels good and this place is doing great things. My family and I packaged meals during a two hour shift and had fun doing it.”

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Jeff S., Volunteer

“Awesome experience! One of the few charities I love to spend time at because you can see the direct impact you are having. You can donate money that goes directly to buying food that volunteers pack. Very well organized, very clean, and a great team building experience!”

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Noreen O., Volunteer

“Fun way to build community and do good at the same time.”

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Kara S., Volunteer

“Fantastic volunteer trainers. Thank you for making a great Saturday event possible, and for letting us help feed society’s most vulnerable.”

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Carolyn R., Volunteer

“I just want you to know how much we enjoyed our time with your organization.  We are from all over the United States and it is nice to know that this type of work is going on across the country.  I, myself am from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and I am involved with our Soup Kitchen and our Community Food Basket to help the people of our community.  As a fellow volunteer, I just want to say thank you for all you do.”
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