One Million Meals: MLK Day of Service Helps Feed the Hungry
The 2024 MLK Day of Service Million Meal Pack event recently took place at the Orange County Convention Center, where more than 3,000 volunteers packaged more than one million nutritious meals to support local families in need. This event marks the beginning of an annual tradition that will bring together volunteers, sponsors and the community in the spirit of unity.
“This is a perfect example of why the initiative was created – to help those less fortunate through programs and events that highlight community inclusiveness and collaboration,” explained Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “Having a day of service every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors Dr. King’s lifelong commitment to civil rights, nonviolence, unity and justice for all.”
In addition to the one million nutritious meals already being distributed to local families facing food insecurity, $20,000 in scholarships was awarded through the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools for students focused on careers in service and technology.
Orange County Community and Family Services Department was responsible for getting the word out and securing volunteers, and members of the department were there to help with logistics on the day of the event.
“It’s all about giving back and meeting the needs of others,” said Lavon Williams, deputy director, Community and Family Services Department. “Especially on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s important for us to pause and remember we’re here to support and lift one another, to think bigger than ourselves and beyond our immediate circles and reach out to the greater community.”
The Orange County Convention Center provided the space that enabled volunteers to spread out and pack the food into individual meals. Community leaders, including Mayor Demings, led the packing process, which went very smoothly.
“We’re incredibly appreciative of the Orange County employees and the various community and citizen partner groups that helped in the packing process,” said Williams. “This was a public-private collaborative effort that involved many organizations and individuals, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”
Orange County MLK Initiative collaborated with the City of Orlando and U.S. Hunger, along with sponsors The Kroger Co. Foundation, Clear Channel Outdoor, Orlando Health, BKS Partners, Sodexo Live! and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to ensure a successful day of volunteering and goodwill.
To learn more about Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings MLK Initiative, go to Orange County.