Orange County

Volunteers at Universal Orlando resort hotels pack meals during Thanksgiving weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. — Volunteers are busy at work preparing 400,000 meals to feed families by the end of the day.


Loews Hotels and Universal Orlando Resort worked with U.S. Hunger this Thanksgiving weekend to help families in need.

With every ring of the bell, they get one box closer to their big goal.

Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando will reach a milestone with its 2022 hunger project.

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“It’s a way of giving back, and giving back to someone in real need,” said Davis Bartek of Loews Hotels Universal Orlando.

The meals will be transported to southwest Florida for Hurricane Ian relief and overseas to those impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Each bag packed at one of the eight Loews Universal Orlando hotels makes a lentil casserole that feeds a family of six.

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Food insecurity has continued to worsen, especially for those impacted by disasters.

“The Thanksgiving bill from just a year ago is up 21%,” said Rick Whitted, CEO of U.S. Hunger. “Before that even happened, families were still food insecure.”

Food banks and pantries have encountered a challenging time in terms of volunteers, but this teamwork is helping to provide assistance.

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Volunteer Hector Rodriguez said that during the season of giving, he’s happy to help fill a need where he can.

“Spending this day together with friends and family, and feeding children, it’s great,” he said.

Rising inflation has led to a decrease in donations, and food providers have to stretch their dollar even further.

“Quite often, we hear local pantries that we partner with throughout the country say (they’re) so glad for this donation,” Whitted said. “(And) had this not come, we might not have had food for next week.”

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