Volunteering & Giving
October 28, 2014

Meals in minutes to ‘Stop Hunger Now’

The Wells Fargo Advisors campus in St. Louis became a food factory for 75 minutes as 500 Wells Fargo volunteers packed 100,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now. A gong sounded for every 10,000 meals packed.

In 75 minutes, Wells Fargo volunteers in St. Louis created and packed 100,000 meals for the nonprofit Stop Hunger Now.

The event turned the atrium of the Wells Fargo Advisors campus into a food factory. To make the meals, 500 team members combined rice, soy, dehydrated tomatoes, cabbage, celery, and other vegetables with a flavoring mix inside plastic pouches. A gong sounded for every 10,000 meals packed.

Vanessa Cooksey of Wells Fargo Advisors speaks to volunteers before they start packing meals
Vanessa Cooksey of Wells Fargo Advisors speaks to volunteers before they start packing meals.

“Every time we’d hear the gong, the room would erupt into applause, and the atmosphere was infectious,” says Zach Smith, chief administrative officer for the Innovation & Strategy group.

Since creating the meal-packing program in 2005, Stop Hunger Now has fed more than 166 million meals to people in 65 developing countries.

Meals go to early childhood development programs, schools, vocational training centers, orphanages, and medical clinics, and for crisis response after natural disasters, wars, and famine.

Stop Hunger Now CEO and President Rod Brooks was on hand to cheer on volunteers while they worked.

Kristen Polchinski of Community Affairs says the brokerage firm scheduled the event after getting the idea from teammate Geoffrey Griffin, a financial advisor in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a Stop Hunger Now board member. Each December, Geoffrey joins teammates to pack meals with clients and their families for the holidays.

Kristen says, “Given the strong legacy of community support and volunteerism here in St. Louis, it seemed like the perfect time to bring the event here, too.”

Alison Levine, a project manager with the Compliance Implementation Group, says she was all-in when she heard about the meal-packing blitz and Stop Hunger Now’s mission to end worldwide hunger. “Each of us performed only one small job in the overall operation,” she says, “but the collective effort added up to huge results.”

Learn how to host a meal-packing event in your community at stophungernow.org.