Some 400 volunteers showed up to Inklings in downtown Pleasanton last week to participate in a meal-packing event for the Pleasanton-based nonprofit Kids Against Hunger Bay Area.
The volunteers packed 50,000 rice bags over the course of three hours on the evening of Jan. 30 in a festively crowded storeroom behind the coffee house on Main Street. The event was sponsored by Man Cave Craft Eats, a small meat company based in Minneapolis, as part of their Bite Back initiative -- for every item purchased, the company will donate a meal to those in need.
The meals will go to Second Harvest Food Bank, which will then distribute the meals to nearby schoolchildren with demonstrated need.
"We feel like it's our duty to give back," said Kristy Welker, the public relations director for Man Cave Craft Eats.
Volunteers were divided into three hour-long shifts from 5-8 p.m. that evening, stationed at several long tables in assembly-line fashion.
They shuffled down their tables, filling plastic bags with long-grain rice, crushed soy, dehydrated black beans and a vitamin spice blend, before making their way to the sealing station, where their bags were closed and placed in large boxes to be delivered to Second Harvest.
Usually, volunteer meal-packing events like this cost $20 per person for fundraising purposes, said Sherri Leal, who serves as the director of Kids Against Hunger Bay Area. But because Man Cave Craft Eats was donating the meals, January's meal-packing was free of charge.
Leal had been there all day -- a group from Starbucks and a youth group had come in in the morning to participate in the packing. She said the event had "sold out" quickly, with first preference given to those who had taken part in Kids Against Hunger meal-packing events before.
The Pleasanton nonprofit is a satellite of the national Kids Against Hunger organization, headquartered in Omaha, Neb. For more information, visit kahbayarea.org.