Thousands Pack Meals On National Day Of Service

Lisa Fielding
September 11, 2019 - 4:02 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Union Station's Great Hall was transformed Wednesday into the first-ever "Meal Pack of 9/11."

"This is our first year in Chicago," said Ryan Walls, Director of Strategic Partnerships, 9/11 Day.

Scott McFarland, Executive Director, Serve Illinois said Illinois joins six other cities 12,000 volunteers working to pack over two million meals.

There was a moment of prayer, the ringing of bells, a rendition of 'America The Beautiful' and a countdown to a day of service for 1,200 volunteers. Rows and rows of assembly lines were set up beneath a giant American flag. Each volunteer packed up non-perishable meals for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

"Each station has about 10-12 people. Everyone is in charge of scooping a different ingredient into the bag. The bag moves down the line, gets sealed and put into a box and gets shipped off," Walls said.

Meal Pack of 9/11
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Walls said they reach out to corporations, civic organizations, and schools to take part in 9/11 days.

"In Chicago, we get a lot of support from corporations. We get all walks of life as volunteers. We have three different shifts," he said.

Meal Pack of 9/11
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Lorin Enjelo is volunteering with UIC.

"This is my first time doing this. I decided to volunteer and there are so many people here, I like it,” she said. "I'm definitely going to come back next year."

Volunteer Scott Schoenknecht, from Decision Technology said his company has always done service days on 9/11.

"We also visit the local fire houses in Chicago. It's been great. It's a lot of fun," Schoenknecht said.

Meal Pack of 9/11
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

In 2009, Congress and President Barack Obama signed the National Day of Service Law.

"By 2021, we hope to mobilize 50 million people across the country in acts of service," Walls said. "Our hope is to make a small impact on the day but also highlight the need for more support of hunger relief in the greater Chicago area as well as around the country.

Executive Director of Serve Illinois, Scott McFarland said "we're here to remember 9/11 and make it into a day of service for generations to come."