Feeling a little peckish? Reading this might help…
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Feeling a little peckish? Reading this might help…

Feeling a little peckish? Reading this might help…

If you’re looking for a great team-building event that incorporates social responsibility, I cannot recommend AFAC’s SPF Program strongly enough! 

The BM Smith team got the chance to experience this for the first time just yesterday!

AFAC stands for Arlington Food Assistance Center, and they have food warehouse / distribution sites that serve food-insecure Arlington families, children, and individuals who have been referred to them by a local government or social service agency. Currently they serve approximately 2,200 families per week, with about 35% of that total including children (source).

People visit the distribution center and go through a very orderly process to receive their choice of items available to supplement their weekly groceries. AFAC always strives to make healthy, hearty options available.

One such healthy and hearty food option that they provide as a staple is beans. When we decided to participate in the SPF (Sponsor-Purchased Food) program, we were signing ourselves up to sponsor 2,000 lbs of beans for repackaging and distribution!

AFAC scheduled a delivery to our corporate office, providing us with all of the necessary tools and instructions for breaking down huge 50-lb. sacks of black beans into family-sized portions in a manageable, sanitary packet. (They also would have been happy to host our group at their warehouse, if we didn’t have enough space.) They also provided us with an experienced AFAC volunteer to stay with us throughout the process, and even sent Charlie Meng, their CEO, to speak to our group about their mission and the value of the work we were doing.

I have to admit that when the delivery first arrived, I looked at the magnitude of the task and started to wonder if my small group of 15 volunteers (split across two 1-hour shifts) would really be capable of finishing the job. See those huge 50-lb. sacks they dropped off? See those two tiny black bean plastic packets on the table for an example?? To me, this seemed like it was going to be an all-day project.

But I’ve seen our team accomplish amazing work together in the past, so I stayed optimistic and let everyone just get started…



Something amazing happened — in the first hour, the team had measured, packaged, sealed and created over 1,400 lbs of beans! They left the second group just over 500 lbs to deal with, which was just as well since we were a little smaller group.


We transformed our regular, run-of-the-mill conference room into an efficient assembly-line, only providing the manpower, willing spirits, and black garbage bags to cover our conference table.

We had no experience, no skills or expertise besides knowing how to follow directions and being open to trying something new.

We felt a little daunted by the task at hand, but when we finished repackaging 2,000 lbs in the space of 2 hours with only 15 volunteers, we felt POWERFUL and REWARDED.

Follow @BMSmithApts on Instagram to catch images and videos of our progress and finished product.

I can’t recommend this experience highly enough to try with your office, church or school group, sports team, or book club. This was an enjoyable, fun, team-building experience and we had the assurance that the work we were doing was serving a true need.

The  need persists! So check out AFAC’s Volunteer options and sign up right away : Click here!