In an assembly line that stretched across part of the Lambeau Field Atrium and gained momentum throughout the afternoon as boxes were filled, the "Ladies of Lambeau," a volunteer group of over 150 women involved with the Packers organization, packaged 60,000 meals for the international relief agency "Stop Hunger Now."
The event was created by Laurie Murphy, wife of Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. The "Ladies of Lambeau" included women employees and board members, and wives and partners of employees, board members, players and coaches.
There were 16 stations, with funnels to fill each clear meal bag with a vitamin packet, dehydrated vegetables, a soy packet and rice. Boiled with six cups of water, each bag will feed six people. The price to fund one bag is $1.50 and each box that was crated at the event held 200 meals.
In addition, names of three participating volunteers were pulled and each designated their favorite Wisconsin charity to receive a $5,000 Packers grant. Also, "Ladies of Lambeau" collected perishable food donations from volunteers for "Paul's Pantry," for the needy locally. Youth from the nearby "Rawhide Boys Ranch" helped load the boxes.
Laurie Murphy first became aware of "Stop Hunger Now" while living in the Washington D.C. area. She participated in a similar session to the one at the Lambeau Field Atrium, was struck by the impact that can come from a small group working together under the relief organization's direction, and how "Stop Hunger Now" puts their resources toward their goals.
"It's incredible because 'Stop Hunger Now' has this system for putting these meals together down to a science," Laurie Murphy said. "It's important to have dinners and fundraisers, but this is something hands on. We have everyone on board and I can see it as something that continues to grow with more events like this."
"Stop Hunger Now" is an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world. While the mission includes providing meals to crisis situations, the organization is heavily involved in feeding programs for schools and organizations.
"They really settle into a community," Murphy said. "They stay there with these programs and make a long-term commitment to the schools and the people. Any type of aid is important when there is poverty, but 'Stop Hunger Now' tries to change the communities with their programs."
"Stop Hunger Now" Founder and International President Ray Buchanan said that schools are the key to feeding the masses in underdeveloped countries.
"Children will come to school if they can get something to eat, so that's where we put 90 percent of the food we distribute," Buchanan said. "Education is the foundation to a developing society. I visited five countries and 22 schools over three weeks, and everyone said the same thing, that without education they have no future."
Murphy called Buchanan to assist in putting the event together, and the Raleigh, N.C., organization immediately went into action.
"People want to make a difference and don't know how," he said. "Laurie wanted to do something in Green Bay so she picked up the phone and called. That's making a difference. She got pro sports involved, and we'd love to see more of that. It's not about just wanting to do something. She participated in an event in Washington D.C. and fell in love with it, and that's how the word spreads. Because of that, 60,000 school kids are going to be able to eat. It shows all you have to do is pick up the phone."