It was about giving back, all the way around.
For more than a decade, SAY Detroit’s A Time to Help program has partnered with Motown Soup packaging dry mixes in an effort to help restock its inventory and store during the holiday seasons. In return, Motown Soup sells its soups, dips and other dry mixes to raise funds to help support the homeless and hungry in Michigan, including Detroit youth who attend the SAY Play Center at LIpke Park.
Over 100 charities have benefited from $1.6 million in donations from the all-volunteer organization over the last 17 years, which is due to grow considering it’s coming off a record year.
“We can’t do it without you,’’ Dan Kennedy, a longtime Motown Soup volunteer, told the group before the project began in the lower level of Trinity Lutheran Church. “Right now we’re rebuilding inventory. It’s no race. It’s quality over quantity.”
Well, not that ATTH was keeping score or anything, but. . .
Put an asterisk next to this number: 1,544. That’s the total number of dry mixes that two dozen volunteers assembled in just over two hours Saturday (Feb. 18), beating the previous ATTH mark of 1,465 set a year ago.
The team packaging the most dry mixes was “Chicken Pot Pie Spice Bag” (663), followed by “Chicken Pot Pie” (440), “Broccoli Cheese Soup” (225) and “Beer Bread” (216). To be fair, volunteers on both the Broccoli Cheese and Beer Bread teams had to engage in a more labor-intensive process of having to “mix’’ the mixes before sealing them.
All in all, though, it was great fun.
ATTH was happy to welcome several first-time volunteers, including Carl Tomei of Clarkston, who brought along his wife (Jenanne), daughter (Taylor) and son-in-law (Peter), to lend a hand.
“It’s a family affair,’’ Taylor said.
Asked why he decided to sign up, Carl said: “I’m retired and I’m doing this to occupy my time because I like helping people.’’
A Time to Help’s next event is March 12 — yes, a Sunday — at the Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center in Highland Park. Registration and more information will be posted this week.