This past Friday, the 5 Fold team decided to once again get out of the office for the afternoon. Before heading home for the holiday weekend, we all met to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC).
An international charity with locations throughout the United States, Feed My Starving Children supplies bags of nutritious food to hungry children across the globe, ranging from Kenya to North Korea. These bags constitute an entire meal of rice, and provides the children with a filling meal that, in turn, helps them concentrate in school.
After an initial presentation where we learned the basics of filling the food bags, our team washed our hands, put on gloves, and cleaned our station thoroughly. Then, we got to work.
Each bag of food began with Katharine, who scooped and leveled a measured serving of vitamins into the hopper. Diana added vegetables and Brittany added a scoop of rice. On the other side of the hopper, Drew and Scott alternated fitting bags to catch the mixture. They then handed the bags to me, where I weighed them on a digital scale and—if they were off weight—I added or subtracted rice from the bag. Our table was paired with the employees of a local financial firm, and they took on the tasks of sealing and boxing the bags. At the end of the room, John taped boxes shut.
All of this took teamwork and rhythm: Scott had to place a new bag on the hopper after Drew removed his, just as I had to weigh the bags before sending them onward to the waiting hands of the bag sealer. That’s not to say that we didn’t engage in some lighthearted ribbing. We’ve decided that all our new employees will have to put bags onto the hopper as a test of how they perform under pressure. For the record, Drew—5 Fold’s newest employee—did great!
Our pace was frenetic, but the catchy pop music made the time go by quickly. In fact, we were all surprised at how simple and straightforward the process was. The whole experience was really fun, which made helping out a great cause even better.
Over the course of an hour, our two tables packed about 25 boxes. At 32 bags in a box, that means that our group packed 800 meals. Overall, the warehouse produced more than 31,000 meals in an hour. Even though we were all packing fast, we were all shocked to hear that actual number. Incredibly, we were one of more than a dozen groups entering the warehouse that day, meaning that the Phoenix branch of FMSC puts out more than 100,000 meals in a 24-hour span.
Once we completed the hour, we once again cleaned our station, attended a debriefing, and said our goodbyes for the long weekend. Yet, we all agreed that we’d like to volunteer at FMSC again. Most importantly, it’s for a great cause. However, working at FMSC is also fantastic because of how much fun everyone has. Plus, because the shifts are two hours long, companies and workplaces have no excuse not to join in.