Our Conference planning committee wanted a project where Rotarians could give back — and would keep attendees alert and active after lunch! What we decided to do was create Soup-in-a-Bag, a hearty, healthy mix of dry ingredients that we could deliver to local food pantries. This involved putting dry lentils, split peas, pearl barley, fusilli, dried onion and parsley flakes in each bag and tying off with blue and gold ribbons.
Rotaractors at the University of Guelph and several Youth Exchange students helped us coordinate the project. We made 1000 bags (each bag holds 10 servings) in two hours! The total cost for ingredients and bags was $1500. So, we fed 10,000 people (1000 bags at 10 servings each) for just pennies per serving! Volunteers from two food banks, one church and one drop-in center were on hand to accept the packaged soup.
We asked for and readily received a letter of permission from the local health commissioner, and everyone wore plastic gloves. We used a simple Split Pea Soup recipe. The ingredients were poured into bins and we used scoops to fill the bags with our designated ingredient. One of the clubs in our District is already doing this project with their members. Other clubs plan to pick it up. We certainly had fun and contributed to immediate needs in our community.