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Volunteers set new record during Day of Caring in Forsyth County
Volunteers gathered Friday for United Ways annual Day of Caring event at Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, where they packaged meals for those in need. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

FORSYTH COUNTY — Last year was hailed as the largest Day of Caring for the United Way of Forsyth County, so organizers and volunteers simply went out this year and nearly doubled the results.

The organization’s executive director, Ruth Goode, said the event has become so popular it had to be split into two.

“Today we are packaging 100,000 meals,” she said. “There will be 60,000 this morning and 40,000 packed for the afternoon shift. We’ve had to move to two shifts this year, because everyone seems to really like this event.

“This is our third year. The first year we packaged 50,000, the second 60,000 and then 100,000 this year.”

The event had volunteers packing food into boxes before pushing them down a line at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth County Conference Center. Once each group was finished, a member would carry the box over to be stored.

“I’ve been a soy packer,” said Amy Kuhs, who attended the event with several co-workers from Johns Creek Dental Care.

“The pack of vitamins, you start with that, then a scoop of beans, a scoop of the veggies, then my soy goes in — that’s very crucial for this soup recipe — and then finally the rice is at the end.”

Members of various local businesses and community groups turned out.

“We’ve got people from all over our business from manufacturing to logistics to general management, the whole company,” said Erik Christensen of Hansgrohe. “Everyone whose here has taken a half-day vacation out of their personal time to come and dedicate it for this cause.”

According to Goode, community support for the event is so strong because nearly all of the food stays in the area at local food pantries, where it can be stored for up to two years.

”I think they value this event, and why they like it so much, is because they see a product from start to finish,” she said. “They see the food pantries coming to take the meals to their food pantries for distribution.

“We do have I think 4,000 meals that will go overseas to Tanzania, but those were designated by a couple of the [local] Rotary Clubs. They wanted some of their meals to go there.”

Also during the Day of Caring, other groups performed work at various local nonprofits, food pantries and thrift stores.