Nonprofit in need of volunteers to pack meals for Minnesota schools

Nearly two years into the pandemic, and some nonprofits are facing a shortage in volunteers.

At a time when nonprofits typically see a decline in volunteerism, the shortfall is seriously impeding one local organization's efforts to fight child hunger.

Inside a massive warehouse in Roseville, meal bags are assembled by hand, one by one. At Every Meal, a nonprofit with a mission to fight child hunger, this is a weekly routine that is now being challenged by the pandemic.

"With omicron and COVID and how the pandemic is kind of dragging on and people are just kind of dragging a little bit, it's kind of harder to get that motivation to come out and volunteer," says Every Meal founder and president, Rob Williams.

Fewer volunteers amount to slower productivity. This, as Williams says, the need for food soars.

"We only have 23% of our volunteer slots filled," says Williams. "In just a few minutes actually, we have a volunteer event. There’s 45 slots, and only seven people have signed up to come, and hopefully they come, because of the weather."

Every Meal is in need of volunteers at its Roseville warehouse.

And the pressure is on as the nonprofit works to pack 150,000 meal bags in just a few weeks.

Williams says, "With our logistics being across the state at 460 different schools, we normally have a two-months' supply of bags ready to go. Right now, we have two weeks. And that might sound like a lot, but it’s really pretty low."

As expectations remain high, there's a call for action.

"We're just seeing a lot of need in the community for our meal bags to get them out to the kids that need them the most. What we need the most to be able to do that is volunteers," he said. "We need people to come here to our facility, to pack food and get the food ready so that we can get it out to the kids."

Every meal works to fight hunger filling the food gaps children face during weekends, summers, and extended breaks. Williams says that all volunteers must wear masks and are socially distanced. 

For more information on how to volunteer, click here.