NBA Hall of Famer and Hawks Legend Dominique Wilkins, Hawks Players Kobe Bufkin, Trent Forrest, Mouhamed Gueye, Jalen Johnson, Seth Lundy, Wesley Matthews, Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman and More Joined 5,000 Volunteers for Hawks and State Farm’s Largest Single-Day Community Initiative This Year
ATLANTA – Earlier today, the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm gathered 5,000 volunteers at the award-winning State Farm Arena to pack more than one million meals as part of the 2023 Million Meal Pack. Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman, Hawks and State Farm Arena Chief Executive Officer Steve Koonin, State Farm Senior Vice President Dan Krause, NBA Hall of Famer and Hawks Legend Dominique Wilkins, Hawks Forward Jalen Johnson and more welcomed and extended heartfelt gratitude to the volunteers who devoted their time to support the team’s largest single-day community service effort of the year.
Individuals, families, community groups, schools, churches, businesses and more congregated on the arena floor to pack the meals. Together with volunteers from U.S. Hunger and executives from both the Hawks and State Farm, they collectively achieved an impressive total of 1,020,672 meals packed.
“We extend our deep appreciation to today’s volunteers and take immense pride in seeing so many people come together to better the lives of others at today’s Million Meal Pack event with our dear partners at State Farm,” said Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena. “Recognizing the substantial effort required to combat food insecurity across Atlanta, we are hopeful that this single-day community service initiative will serve as an inspiration across metro Atlanta of what we can achieve together.”
The six 90-minute shifts of the event yielded:
“The Million Meal Pack was once again an incredible event, with thousands of volunteers coming together to help our Atlanta neighbors struggling with food insecurity,” said Dan Krause, Senior Vice President at State Farm. “We were proud to bring together local State Farm agents, employees and community volunteers to make a meaningful difference. We appreciate everyone who participated and give thanks to the Atlanta Hawks for our ongoing partnership in giving back and strengthening our communities.”
The packed meals will be distributed throughout the metro Atlanta area with the operational support of U.S. Hunger, a hunger relief organization with innovative programs designed to help feed people struggling with food insecurity. Additionally, 12 other local organizations will help distribute the meals including Atlanta Community Food Bank, Community Assistance Center, Fountain of Hope, Georgia State University Panther’s Pantry, Goodr, Hope Atlanta, Latin American Association, Midwest Food Bank, Meals On Wheels Atlanta, North Fulton Community Charities, Second Helpings and the Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta.
Statistics provided by the Atlanta Community Food Bank show that nearly one in nine Georgians are living with food insecurity, including one in eight children.
“There is nothing like this annual Million Meal Pack. The energy that Atlantans bring to the arena and the eagerness to give back, is unmatched,” said Rick Whitted, Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Hunger. “We are so grateful that the Hawks and State Farm invited us back for another year and congratulate them on the good work they do for the community.”
As part of accomplishing various packing milestones throughout the day and after completing a shift, volunteers were invited to participate in an exclusive volunteer-only celebration on State Farm Drive that included games, refreshments, music and fun.
Continuing to operate as the world's first TRUE Zero Waste Platinum certified sports and entertainment venue, this event is marked as the second zero waste Million Meal Pack with the arena diverting more than 97 percent from landfills that includes all materials generated from load-in to load-out.
Since partnering together five years ago, the Hawks and State Farm continue to lead efforts to impact the community in metro Atlanta. They have hosted two Million Meal Pack events, one during the summer of 2022 and the first in 2019. At each event, 5,000 volunteers filled the arena and prepared more than one million meals for distribution to local Atlantans through various community food bank organizations. In June of this year, the two organizations teamed up with the College Park Skyhawks to open their ninth Good Neighbor Club in College Park, Ga. at the College Park Auditorium. In recent years, the organizations have also partnered on providing free pop-up grocery stores in collaboration with Goodr Inc., an Atlanta-based social impact startup leveraging technology to reduce food waste and end hunger.
To learn more about the work that the Hawks are doing in the community, visit Hawks.com/community.