Outreach program will donate one million meals to Ukraine

PEMBROKE – “Soy, spice, rice. Soy, spice, rice…”

Katie Cutler, of Scituate, recited instructions to her son, Bo Cutler, 12, and his friend, Sam Huggins, 13, as they packed food into bags on Saturday.

It was the second time she had volunteered for The Outreach Program, a non-profit organization using volunteer labor to package meals that are distributed to emergency relief efforts, food pantries and food banks. .

“We’re getting there,” Cutler said.

The cutlers were among approximately 200 volunteers who packed food for the outreach program at the organization’s Pembroke warehouse at 203 Oak St. The group’s goal is to provide one million servings of food by May 11 to refugees in Ukraine.

Matt Martin, of Marshfield, is the regional director of the Outreach program. He said volunteers packed seven pallets on Saturday. Each pallet contained approximately 12,000 meals.

Meanwhile, about 100 volunteers packed three more pallets at a satellite site in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Martin joined The Outreach Program in 2011. Its New England branch has served 1.5 million people throughout the pandemic.

The group began sending food to Ukraine on March 11.

Apple Cinnamon Rice, one of the gluten-free foods made by The Outreach Program on Saturday, March 26, 2022.

Martin said the program has attracted a wide range of support. Volunteers came from New Hampshire and he received donations from Arizona and other states.

Brian Kilduff and Patrick Fay of BOC International, a shipping company that pays to transport food to Ukraine, said containers of food would take a long and difficult route to the war-torn country.

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The first container of 24 pallets is to be loaded on April 11. It will be shipped to Poland. Then it will travel about 550 miles and arrive in Lviv by truck in early May.

The warehouse operated from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in three shifts. Some volunteers signed up for a shift. Others, like Cara Steinbergher, 14, from Marshfield, stayed longer.

“It’s a great experience,” she said. “Everyone should try.”

Eight volunteers work at each table at the outreach program warehouse on Saturday, March 26, 2022.

On Saturday, volunteers aged 4 to 80 prepared 10 types of non-perishable food, from oatmeal and raisins to macaroni and cheese.

“That’s the beauty of it,” said Jeff Stone, of Pembroke. “Anyone can help.”

Joyce Powers volunteered after her colleague recommended her.

“It feels good to do something,” she said.

Those interested can make a donation via this link or register here as a volunteer.

Mac and cheese bags are sealed by outreach program volunteers Saturday, March 26, 2022

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Contact Hongyu Liu at [email protected].

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