'A day on, not a day off': Volunteers to pack 200,000 meals for United Way Genesee County MLK event

FLINT, Michigan—United Way of Genesee County is hosting its third annual volunteering event to help families in need across Genesee County for Martin Luther King Day. The volunteers will work together to create meals that will be packaged and delivered to different food pantries across Genesee County.

The event will be hosted from 9 a.m. to noon on MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 20 at the Dort Event Center where a total of 200,000 meals are to be packed for families in need.

This has changed from the original 150,000 meals initially meant to be packed. An additional 50,000 have been added because of the sheer number of volunteers who have signed up. As the number of volunteers approached the initial limit of 600 people, event coordinator Diane Woodruff added another 100 spots as well as the additional meals.

Next Monday will commemorate the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national day of service by Congress.

“It really is meant to be a day on, not a day off,” Woodruff said. “That’s what Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy is ... how do we come together as a community to solve problems in our community.”

The volunteer day is open to everyone ages 5 and older. To register for various tasks, you can go to geneseeserves.org and sign up online. There is no deadline, as long as spaces are open.

“It doesn’t matter what your capacity is. It’s just everybody coming together,” said Woodruff.

This is United Way of Genesee County’s third year hosting this event. With nearly 700 volunteers signed up, this event has repeatedly exceeded expectations. In 2018, their first year, United Way of Genesee County expected 200 volunteers, but 350 volunteers came ready to help. Last year, registration had to be closed after more than 550 volunteers signed up.

United Way of Genesee County receives grants from the Michigan Community Service Commission and Huntington Bank to help pay for this volunteering event.

For more information contact the event coordinator, Diane Woodruff at 810-762-5821 or by email at [email protected].

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Read more articles by Sara Alouh.