This family has packed over 300,000 meals at a food bank during the pandemic

May 11, 2020
by Paul Morello

Emily Hines teaches sixth through eighth grades in the St. Louis area. The day her school was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was supposed to be taking her students on a field trip to the St. Louis Area Foodbank to volunteer. With school closed, she couldn’t do that. So, she took her three daughters instead – and now the four of them have been volunteering at the food bank every day and plan to keep doing so for the foreseeable future.

“I work in a low-income school district,” said Emily, pictured above (far right) with her daughters Cecelia, Lydia and Sylvia. “So I know that the pantries in my district are filled from the food bank. Knowing kids and families are getting help, especially now, is really great.”

While they volunteer, Emily and her 12, 13 and 16-year old daughters spend most of their time putting together senior boxes. Recently, they packed their 300,000th meal.

“The boxes are a month or two of food for seniors,” Emily said. “So they don’t have to worry about leaving the house.”

While many food banks are seeing a dip in volunteer numbers, Emily feels safe volunteering at the St. Louis Area Foodbank. 

“We are given masks and gloves on the way in, we fill out a COVID report before starting our activity, and we sanitize our hands,” she said.

Emily and her daughters continue to be motivated by the increasing need.

“Knowing now that there is even a bigger need during the pandemic makes volunteering that much more important,” Emily said. “Volunteering makes you feel good and you know there’s a reason you’re there – it’s because people need you.” 

Thank amazing food bank volunteers like Emily and her daughters by signing our e-card. After that, learn how you can make an impact right now at your local food bank, or by donating to Feeding America's COVID-19 Response Fund.