BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of workers in Bloomfield found out today that an hour of their time can feed thousands of people in Africa. They were part of a joint effort by health care company Cigna and the charity Feeding Children Everywhere. The Cigna corporate cafeteria feeds plenty of people every day, but never as many as today. By the end of the day, volunteers will have made a quarter million meals. The meals are simple, but go a long way.
“What we package is a lentil casseroule,” said Jarrod Fucci of the charity Feeding Children Everywhere. “We believe what you feed people is just as important as feeding them, so we package a 4-ingredient dry meal, about a two year shelf life.”
The four ingredients are lentils, dehydrated vegetables, himalayan salt, and rice. Each bag filled by volunteers feeds six. If you have enough people, you can assemble a lot of those meals in a day, and Cigna got 1,300 of its employees to take part in what’s called “micro-volunteering.”
“They give one hour of their day, they come down here, they come as a team and their departments,” said David Figliuzzi of the Cigna Foundation. “We create a little friendly rivalry between the packing teams.”
Each teams has its own table on which sacks of ingredients are set up. Bags of food go into boxes, which Feeding Children Everywhere gets to families in Africa struggling with HIV and AIDS.
“So it’s going to come from this site, here in Bloomfield at Cigna, go to our office in Windsor,” said Fucci. “Get loaded onto a shipping container next week, and go out through New Jersey, which is the closest port we can get our food out of.”
Four weeks later, it will be in Kenya, and on to help children who need food to stay strong and fight off disease, distributed by the group Care for Aids. The event is part of Cigna’s “Get Together/Give Together Employee Giving Campaign” and is the biggest volunteer event the company has ever undertaken.