EATON — While much of the country was focused on college athletes putting points on the board during March Madness, Henny Penny was working to put meals on the tables of hungry Dayton families. On March 16, employee volunteers packaged 34,000 meals in one hour for distribution by the Foodbank of Dayton.
During the “Meal Madness” event, 220 Henny Penny volunteers processed 5,500 pounds of bulk macaroni and cheese on 17 assembly lines to create 5,652 meal bags, each containing six pre-portioned servings. Each line produced around 2,000 meals.
Foodbank of Dayton will distribute the meals to food pantries throughout Miami Valley – Preble, Montgomery and Greene counties.
“Food is our business and our passion,” said Lester Wilder, customer quality analyst at Henny Penny, which designs and manufactures equipment for the food service industry, with household-name clients including Wendy’s and McDonald’s. “The Meal Madness event is one of the ways we support our neighbors and our community.”
The frenzied annual basketball tournament is a perfect way to inject fun and timeliness into the serious business of feeding hungry families, said Wilder, who is leading the Meal Madness planning team for his Capstone class at Ohio University.
Henny Penny is working with The Outreach Program, which organizes food-packaging events, and will follow the nonprofit’s exacting protocols to pull off the feat. Volunteers will work in a large production space at Henny Penny cleared out for Meal Madness, with the 17 assembly lines set up to food-grade manufacturing standards.
Foodbank of Dayton, which distributed more than 11 million pounds of food in 2017, reports that approximately 124,000 people in Preble, Montgomery and Greene counties report food insecurity. The pre-made, easy-to-prepare food packs are especially useful for working poor families with children and seniors, the organization said