Good Neighbors

A Holiday Event That's About Giving - Not Getting

Volunteers packed over 1 million meals to benefit those in need as part of the "Amen to Action" event


Try as I might, I couldn't avoid the crowds on people on Black Friday. Though, in this case, I couldn't have been happier.

No, we weren't all queueing at the local mall, ready to tear down the doors as soon as it opened. This Black Friday event was all about giving rather than getting.

" Amen to Action " took place in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh and had the lofty goal of packing over one million meals for people in need. Since words will undoubtedly fall short of describing what that looks like, I'll let the video speak for itself:

This year was the third year of Amen to Action, and it was bigger than ever. Over 4,000 volunteers filled the Convention Center, packing meals that were provided by Meals of Hope . Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds formed mini assembly lines as they put together the ingredients of one of two hot meals: oatmeal or soup. By the end of the day, the volunteers had packed 1,029,456 meals, which will be distributed to more than 400 food pantries and school programs through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank .

"Today brought me an overwhelming sense of joy, as more than 4,000 volunteers gathered to make a difference for those in need. Over the past three years, as Amen to Action has grown, our hope is that we've created a groundswell of interest in volunteerism and giving back to our communities throughout the year. There truly is no better experience than a day like today," said Reid Carpenter, founder of Amen to Action. "The event holds a special place in my heart, and I hope that it continues for years to come."

Photo by Ryan Michael White

Despite this massive accomplishment, there were no signs of fatigue from the volunteers. I could see nothing but smiling, laughing, and dancing from start to finish. A voice over the loudspeaker gave them the biggest reason to dance: "You guys are making a difference to literally tens of thousands of families."

Amen to that.

Volunteer groups like these can always use some donations, so if you'd like to contribute to any of these great causes, click below for their donation pages:

Amen to Action

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

Meals of Hope

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