The Outreach Program Offers CSR Activities That Feed the Soul

January 15, 2019

Doing good on a grand scale is all in a day’s work for Richard McNary, who heads up the meetings industry effort for The Outreach Program, a nonprofit organization that enlists meetings delegates, among others, for CSR teambuilding activities that create meals for the needy on an industrial scale.

“We will package around 45 million meals, and facilitate the packaging of them, around the U.S. in a year,” McNary said. “And we work with literally hundreds of thousands of volunteers.

“Our events are fun—anyone of any age and skillset can do them,” he added. “They’re all in climate-controlled environments and we travel to the location to do them on-site, and it’s measurable.”

Although The Outreach Program primarily works to combat U.S. hunger through its meal packaging events, the organization had its beginnings in Africa. After retiring, founders Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton parlayed their success owning the first recycling plant in the U.S. to bring food, water purification technology, medical care and education to rural Tanzania.

“They watched five kids actually die because of hunger,” McNary said of the founders, who received the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award, presented by presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush.

CSR Teambuilding Programs for Meetings

While Outreach Inc. still brings life-saving relief to Africa, its efforts in the U.S. are the most relevant to North American meetings CSR teambuilding activities.

“We divide our volunteers up into two different groups,” McNary said.

“We have our volunteer staff; they help us manage the event that day, and we have three different groups for attendee participants: table leader, runners and heavy lifters—they’re doing the backbone of getting the product to the tables, away from the tables and working with the people,” he added.

“We have 10 people on a packing line and they will package on average 2,000 meals an hour, per line.”

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The Outreach Program bases the cost of its program on a per-meal price of 30 cents per meal, and also offers “do-it-yourself” kits for groups as small as 10.

“Or we can accommodate up to 10,000,” McNary said. “We’re scalable and replicable.”

The Outreach Program CSR Activity
The Outreach Program Corporate Social Responsibility Activity

Because it is a 501(c)(3) organization, the cost of the CSR activity or program fits well into philanthropic, teambuilding, employee engagement and marketing budgets.

The Outreach Program Boasts an Impressive Client List

Recent groups who have participated in a CSR teambuilding initiative with The Outreach Program include Hasbro, John Deere, United Way Worldwide, the National Council of State Legislatures and 9/, which held an event on the retired USS Intrepid aircraft carrier, now named The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex, on New York City’s Hudson River on September 11, 2018.

The organization has also operated programs in Canada and the Caribbean.

“People can also help Africa,” McNary added. “We have two children’s feeding centers where we provide children a school uniform, a meal and a tutor so they will attend the local school.”

Besides performing good deeds in feeding the hungry, an activity with The Outreach Program always puts a premium on fun, with the option of hiring a DJ available as an add-on.

“And boy, it makes all the difference,” McNary said of pumping up the volume during the activity.

9/11 Day CSR Activity in New York City
9/11 Day Corporate Social Responsibility Activity in New York City

Besides being a job, feeding the hungry is also a calling for McNary, who has been with The Outreach Program for six years as its vice president of private and public partnerships.

“I began working in the hunger space after a 5-year-old starving girl in Nicaragua crawled up into my arms and asked me to feed her in 2001,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of international relief work, but what I love best is giving people practical activities to do something about hunger, and that’s why I love meal packaging,” McNary added.

[Related Content: Read more about those giving back in our industry].

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Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.