Giving Back with the Pack Shack

By Suzy Taylor Oakley

“Blessed are those who help the poor” (Proverbs 14:21, Holy Bible).




1 room big enough for about 100 people

1-2 dozen tables

10-12 sets of scales

10-12 small baskets

Several pounds of rice, dried vegetables, vitamin supplement and seasonings

1 bushel of blogger chicks (plus a sprinkling of stray hotel guests)

Enough disposable hairnets, gloves and aprons for a bushel of bloggers

Sound system with loud, fun music you can dance to

People willing to be silly

1 leader

1 gong

Pouches for packaging 10,000+ ready-to-cook meals

Several dozen cardboard boxes for transporting packets

1 local charity


Preheat room with upbeat music, enthusiasm and prayer.

Set up tables, scales, baskets and tubs of dry ingredients. Prepare bloggers and guests by placing hairnets, gloves and aprons on them, lining them up along food bins, weigh stations and packing tables, and teaching them Funnelology 101. Introduce representative of local charity that will benefit from donated food packets.

Encourage volunteers to be silly and have fun, but also let them know the seriousness of their mission: helping needy families have nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals.

Crank up dance music, ring gong and set bloggers/funnelers into motion.

Watch rowdy, lip-synching bloggers funnel meal ingredients into pouches, weigh them and box them in assembly-line fashion.

Package for approximately 1 hour, ringing gong and reporting on status every few minutes (1,000 pouches or so). Listen to cheers, and watch arms wave and fannies wiggle in celebration.

Watch for doneness.

When goal is reached, announce final count, and CELEBRATE!

Clean up mess.

Yield: 8 meals per packet.

If you haven’t heard of the Arkansas-based Pack Shack, visit this incredible organization’s website, get educated and inspired and schedule a Feed the Funnel session for your own group (contribution is 25 cents per meal). Don’t worry if you can’t gather 100 volunteers. Co-founder Bret Raymond says 25-30 people (ages 3 and up) will do. Read Funnelology 101 (link above), talk to your church, your workplace or another organization you’re involved with, and see how big your heart will expand when you give back for such a worthy cause. And I promise you’ll have a bushel of fun!

The meals you pack go to local hunger-relief organizations – perhaps to people you already know.

Our Pack Shack session at the recent Arkansas Women Bloggers University at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs resulted in more than 10,000 meals to a local food pantry. I’ll tell you, friends, we celebrated big time!


More than 560,000 people in Arkansas are food insecure. Food insecurity refers to lack of access to enough food to support an active, healthy life. (Source: Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance)

Arkansas is No. 1 in the nation for food insecurity, Pack Shack founder Bret Raymond told us. (Bret’s the guy you see in the video giving us instructions.)

35 percent of single-mother households – more than one-third of them – are affected by food insecurity, Bret said.

If you can’t host a Feed the Funnel party but would like to help The Pack Shack help others, click here to make a donation, and be sure to spread the word by sharing this post with your friends.


Where to find The Pack Shack online:

Website: The Pack Shack

Facebook: The Pack Shack

Twitter: @ThePackShackNWA


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