Students and volunteers were invited to take part in the #OneMillionActsOfGood volunteer event in True Grits.
Starting at noon on March 1, volunteers gathered to prepare boxes of snacks for the less fortunate. Originally, only four groups of six volunteers were available for people to sign up for in advance, but the number of volunteers increased throughout the day as people passing by started joining in. Anyone walking by was invited to join and help. Volunteers rotated between preparing boxes full of snacks to writing words of encouragement to be shipped out to the needy.
The event was organized by the non-profit organization Matter as part of their “DIY MATTERbox” program which partnered with General Mills and Ellen DeGeneres to spread, “1 Million Acts of Good.”
UMBC was selected along with 50 college campuses in 26 states from New York to California to participate. The One Million Acts of Good event was created by DeGeneres and Cheerios in order, “to hear stories about how you or someone you know are filling the world with good!”
The event is not limited to college campuses, as anyone with a story about how they have done an act of good is invited to share their experiences using #GoodGoesRound or #OneMillionActsOfGood on social media.
Volunteers were tasked with creating MATTERboxes, with different stations set up to add components to the boxes. MATTERboxes include two “snack packs” that contain granola bars, soy nut butter, applesauce, Cheerios and a handwritten note from UMBC students giving recipients a few words to inspire and motivate.
The boxes provided recipients with encouragement, information on having a healthier diet and a few healthy snacks. The box may not seem like much, but the purpose of the MATTERbox is not to simply give recipients their next meal, but instead to help recipients with balancing a healthy diet while on a budget.
Each campus packed 300 individual MATTERboxes. According to a press release from Matter, “Between February 26 and March 2, 2018, each campus location will be packing 300 MATTERboxes with two snack packs including General Mills items such as Whole Grain Cheerios, Nature Valley Bars and Lärabars. Once packed, the MATTERboxes will be distributed locally to schools, after-school programs and health care providers.” After the event is over, a total of 30,000 boxes will be packed and given to local schools, hospitals and other community organizations.
The MATTERboxes that were prepared at UMBC will go to five charitable organizations which are Retriever Essentials, Southwest Emergency Services, Elkridge Food Pantry, Maryland Food Bank, Inc and Catonsville Emergency Assistance.