ST. GEORGE — Hundreds of volunteers converged on Dixie State University Tuesday to package thousands of meals for local food pantries.
As part of the fourth annual food packaging event at Dixie State, 100,000 meals, which included 50,000 oatmeal meals and 50,000 macaroni meals, were packaged by volunteers from Dixie State, United Way Dixie, local grocery stores and the community. Volunteers working in assembly lines inside the Gardner Student Center ballroom opened bags of bulk dry foods, packaged them and packed them into boxes to be donated to the Utah Food Bank, which will then distribute the food to food pantries around Washington County.
There were about 400-500 volunteers at the event, said Dillon McKinney, vice president of service for the Dixie State Student Association. This is the second year they’ve had the goal of packaging 100,000 meals at the event, McKinney said.
“You know it’s all going local, it’s supporting people and helping them get back on their feet,” McKinney said.
One in 8 Utahns and 1 in 6 children in Utah are at risk of missing a meal on any given day, according to the Utah Food Bank. Statistics like these are what inspired Indigo Klabanoff, event coordinator and community outreach coordinator for United Way Dixie, to come together with so many volunteers to try to make a difference.
“It makes my heart so happy that we get to influence and help these community members that are struggling,” Klabanoff said.
Businesses and community members came to the event in 10-person food packaging teams to help along the assembly lines. Volunteers were also encouraged to bring a $10 donation or 10 food items to donate as well.
Dixie State President Richard Williams was among one of the hundreds of volunteers packing bags of macaroni into boxes.
“I love it,” Williams said. “It gets you out of the office and you get to help other people.”
The food packaging event is part of Dixie State’s goal to boost community engagement efforts, Williams said.
“We want to give back as much as the community gives back to us,” Williams said.
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