By Janet Smith
The Atlanta Hawks and State Farm gathered 5,000 volunteers at State Farm Arena to pack over one million meals in the largest community initiative in the franchise’s 51-year history. Hawks Principal Owners Tony Ressler and Jami Gertz, State Farm Senior Vice President Dan Krause, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, and NBA Hall of Famer and Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins were joined by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) to welcome and thank participants earlier in the day for donating their time in support of the Million Meal Pack. Hawks players Vince Carter, Trae Young, John Collins, and De’Andre Hunter, along with Head Coach Lloyd Pierce, closed out the final meal packing shift alongside volunteers reaching a final count of 1,020,672 meals.
The six 90-minute shifts of the event yielded:
• 170,112 bags of food
• 131,128 pounds of food
• 3,544 boxes of food
• 288 meals per box
• 48 bags per box
• 37 pounds per box
“Our collaboration with State Farm is just beginning,” Koonin said. “From the incredible reach of this Million Meal Pack to the Hawks Court Renovations and State Farm Good Neighbor Clubs that we are creating at local recreation centers, we will continue to build even greater opportunities to bring together Atlantans to make a positive change in our community.”
The many individuals, families, community groups, schools, churches, and businesses that gathered on the floor of State Farm Arena were also working beside Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Travis Schlenk, Atlanta Hawks Alums including Kevin Willis, Jon Koncak, Cal Bowdler, Roshown McLeod, and Tony Delk, as well as Braves Alums Brian Jordan, Dwight Smith, and Marquis Grissom, State Farm agents and employees, Hawks staff, and several local government officials also lent a hand to the effort.
“Atlanta is a special community and today shows why,” Krause said. “Thousands of our neighbors came here on a Saturday, not for a game or to be entertained, but to help us address the issue of food insecurity in and around Atlanta. Through this partnership with the Atlanta Hawks, our local agents and employees are thankful to serve a city who shares our commitment to strengthen communities.”
Every meal packed will be distributed by six local organizations serving various constituencies throughout metro Atlanta: Atlanta Community Food Bank, Second Helpings Atlanta, Fountain of Hope, Goodr, Lost-n-Found Youth, and Veterans Empowerment Organization of Georgia.
Non-profit Feeding Children Everywhere served as the logistics lead of the meal pack event. The organization, which is dedicated to creating a hunger-free world, provided statistics that show one in four children in Atlanta are facing hunger, while the number of high poverty neighborhoods in metro Atlanta has tripled since 2000, as the population has grown.
A little over a year ago, the Hawks and State Farm announced their official partnership, as the insurance market leader became the new naming rights partner of the NBA team’s home venue. Since the inception of the relationship, the two brands have been focused on creating small acts that collectively have massive impact, as part of the State Farm Neighborhood of Good®.
Janet Smith is senior director, brand communications, for the Atlanta Hawks.