TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. — Nick Montoro will have worked for 24 hours straight by the end of this Giving Tuesday.
"It's been really good. Needing a lot of coffee but getting all of the people coming out to volunteer, and just getting new faces in here, it always keeps your spirits up."
Montoro works at the Tunkhannock branch of CHOP - which stands for Child Hunger Outreach Partners. He came up with the idea for the "24-hour Pack-a-thon" to raise awareness about food insecurity.
"I just kind of said something crazy like, 'why don't we pack bags for 24 hours?' And our Executive Director and founder got right on board, and the rest is history."
"We've got some new volunteers, some regular volunteers, coming in, packing bags nonstop since 6 p.m. last night, and we're gonna go to 6 p.m. tonight," said program manager Lynne Hunting.
The goal is to pack up enough bags to feed 5,000 kids.
Hunting says the organization has noticed an increased need over the course of the pandemic.
"There is more food insecurity. First of all, the stores don't have as much product as they used to. Some people have missed work, have lost jobs, and there's more hunger and more need for help."
This is the first time CHOP has done something like this, even after staying up for 24 hours. The organizers want to do it every year now.
"It's a lot, but it's been really fun so far," said Montoro.
"Watch and see what we do next! There's always something," said Hunting.
Organizers say it's important to bring this kind of momentum into the new year as they attempt to go beyond Northeastern PA and start serving hungry families statewide.
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