Pack to Give Back: Businesses Give Back with Hands and Heart
The Maryland Food Bank has officially wrapped up our annual holiday box packing event, Pack to Give Back. Each year, local business communities across the state help us purchase thousands of pounds of traditional holiday foods for hungry families; and in return we invite these sponsors to experience firsthand the impact and generosity they’re spreading by joining us at our facilities to pack up the meals!
Hundreds of corporate volunteers gathered at the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore to stuff boxes with all the fixings for a holiday feast. Organized in teams of 15, volunteers lined the tables, representing each of the generous businesses that stepped up to sponsor this year’s Pack to Give Back.
Deborah Flateman, President & CEO of the Maryland Food Bank, kicked off the event with an acknowledgement of the incredible impact this collaborative effort will have on food-insecure families across the state.
“Every can, every package, every box that you pack is going out into the community,” she said in her remarks. “80,000 people will enjoy a holiday meal because of the work that we’re doing and the funds that were provided by the organizations and companies here today.”
With that, the packing began, and the warehouse reverberated with hundreds of hands moving in concert to pack box after box.
“I can describe it in one word… Exhilarating,” said Vishnu Nanan, vice president of ITMS for Xerox.
Nanan was one of the volunteers representing Xerox, a first-year sponsor that forged onto the scene this year as a top-level, platinum sponsor.
The food bank celebrated several new partnerships at this year’s Pack to Give Back, meanwhile welcoming many groups back for their 5th — even 6th — consecutive year.
Among the Pack to Give Back veterans were the Grainger Foundation, the Baltimore Orioles, and CSX — each organization standing out as platinum sponsors and longtime supporters of the event.
“When we first started doing this, it was something like 4,000 boxes that we packed,” said David Diggs, who served as a Grainger volunteer. “And at that point in time, I remember thinking wow, 4,000? And now we’re doing 20,000 boxes, and it’s still not covering everyone. There are just so many needy people.”
The Baltimore Orioles also boast a longstanding legacy as supporters of this event. In addition to their generous sponsorship of the packing event, the annual Orioles Food & Funds Drive helps us purchase thousands of turkeys that are paired with Pack to Give Back holiday boxes before going out to hungry families across the state.
“Our partnership with the Maryland Food Bank goes back more than thirty years,” said Greg Bader, vice president of Marketing and Communications for the Baltimore Orioles. “The Food & Funds Drive we do every year is an important part of that and it gets the fans involved, but our front office staff also really enjoys being able to give back through this event.”
And the Orioles employees are not alone in looking forward to the annual packing event. CSX returned this year for its 5th consecutive year as a top sponsor of Pack to Give Back.
“This is one of everyone’s favorite volunteer events of the year. It really gives us a chance to kick off the holiday season,” said Brian Hammock, resident vice president of CSX. “It’s important for CSX to partner with the food bank because you touch all of the communities that we’re active in. And with 1 in 8 Marylanders food insecure, we’re reminded as we travel throughout the state that people in every walk of life struggle with food insecurity.”
We are so grateful for the generosity and compassion showed by all of this year’s Pack to Give Back sponsors, and in just a few days, we will begin distributing these holiday meals to the communities that need it most.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, the food bank hopes that individual Marylanders will follow suit with the local business community, reaching out to provide hope to families who might otherwise enter the holidays empty-handed — and with empty stomachs.
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