Million Meal Marathon changes course for 2020 event because of pandemic

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The 10th annual Million Meal Marathon will be more akin to a collection of 1-mile fun runs this year.

The event is normally held in one day during approximately 11 hours at Lucas Oil Stadium. Because of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it will stretch from Oct. 13 to Nov. 7 at the Million Meal Movement Warehouse at 9250 Corporation Dr. in Indianapolis.

The annual food packing event will take place during several weeks instead of in one day this year. (Submitted photo)

Carmel resident Nancy Hintz and her husband, Dan, co-founded Million Meal Movement, a nonprofit, in 2007. The Million Meal Marathon is the nonprofit’s signature event, but there are other events held throughout the year.

“Usually, we would have two to three thousand people that would come through the course of a day and help package dry ingredients into a plastic bag, a rice soy casserole meal people would be able to cook up,” Hintz said. “With COVID, we wanted to keep everyone safe, so we have about 40 different shifts of small groups of 25 or less throughout the course of a month where families or companies can package food.”

Hintz said everyone wears masks and gloves and keeps 6 to 8 feet apart instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder as in the past.

“We are trying to meet the tremendous need that has (resulted from) COVID,” Hintz said.  “There is just an unprecedented demand out there.”

Hintz said the event has added a new meal of macaroni and cheese.

“We worked with a dietician at Gleaners Food Bank to come up with a macaroni and cheese that was also nutritious,” Hintz said. “It has lower sodium. It has enriched calcium and Vitamin D. Our understanding from our partners is the demand for food has increased two to three times.”

All the food goes to the food banks and pantries throughout Indiana.

Two thousand volunteers are needed as well as monetary donations to cover the cost of ingredients. Every dollar provides four meals. To donate, visit bit.ly/millionmealmovement.

Weekly packs will be held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with three available shifts daily. Two weekend packs also will be held to accommodate families and small groups. Cost to participate is $30 for individuals and $100 for families of up to five.

“That covers the cost of ingredients of the food they are packing,” Hintz said. “The marathon is mostly driven through corporate sponsorship.”

To volunteer, visit bit.ly/marathonpack. For more, visit millionmealmovement.org.


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