Volunteers team up to pack food, love into boxes for Kentucky families in need during ChristmasLOUISVILLE, Ky. —Bringing people together for the holidays with food. That's the goal behind the annual "Boxes of Love" effort.
It's all part of a massive volunteer effort to provide families in need with a Christmas dinner.
Before the sun rose Thursday morning, Fourth Street Live was already bustling with excitement.
"Volunteers bring the dry goods, put 'em together, put 'em in the boxes and have an assembly line like they do at Ford Motor Co.," said Tim Morris with the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.
Hundreds of boxes lined the street downtown waiting to be filled with everything you would need for a Christmas dinner.
"I think it's a testament to what an incredibly compassionate community we are a part of," said Adria Johnson, Metro United Way president.
The effort aims to make sure Louisville Metro families in need have a special meal during the holidays.
"I don't know if everyone realizes just the degree to which people in our community suffer from food insecurity," Johnson said. "People that don't get an opportunity to have that three meals a day."
The Louisville chapter of the UAW Local 862 started Boxes of Love 11 years ago and, just like most acts of love, it quickly grew.
"We started out with 50 boxes on the gymnasium floor of the union hall," he said. "It just kept growing like we had partners and then we were kind of reinventing the wheel. And then all the unions got together and said, 'Why don't we do this together.'"
There are now more than 20 unions, businesses and other community organizations involved.
"It's a huge undertaking every year, but it's the right thing to do to bring people together," Morris said.
Once each of the boxes is carefully filled, they're ready to go to families across Kentucky and Indiana.
"We're focused on everyone in the greater Louisville area that's been affected but also down to western Kentucky," Morris added.
While the food will fill an important need, organizers said the most important gift can't fit inside the box."
"The ability to bring together your loved ones, to be in the community with each other, to express your love for each other," Johnson said.
It's a holiday tradition they hope will continue to spread.
This year, the boxes helped feed 6,200 people. Meals were also sent to families living in western Kentucky that were affected by the tornadoes.
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