When the financial crisis hit in 2008, Kids Around the World, which builds playgrounds for impoverished children and families overseas, decided it also wanted to start delivering food to those in need.
The organization sought a way to make it easy for donors and volunteers to get involved in its new activity.
The answer was that after churches, schools, and other groups raised enough money to cover the cost of shipping a large number of meals—at 25 cents per meal—Kids Around the World started delivering all the food and packing equipment the donors needed to prepare containers for shipment.
“With ever-increasing demands of people’s time, making volunteering easier has increased support, participation, and the number of lives touched,” says Nick Falco, the charity’s vice president of development.
Another bonus of the packing events, he adds, is that they allow families and other groups to “share their philanthropy,” with people of all ages working side by side.
Kids Around the World expects to provide materials for about 70 packing events this year, a number that has been growing. The food program—with most of the money raised by the groups hosting the packing events—now accounts for about 30 percent of the charity’s contributed income.
After the packing events are held, Kids Around the World stays connected with the donors and volunteers, sending them information about where their containers went and photographs of the supplies being distributed.
As a result of the efforts, many recipients have followed up by making additional gifts.
For example, a man in Wisconsin who attended a packing event at his church a couple of years ago made a $25,000 contribution to send meals to Haiti. Now he’s working with local groups to organize an event in September to package 500,000 more meals for shipping and distribution