MATTER’S mission is to expand access to health, next door and around the world. One of the ways we do this is through our innovative MATTERbox program which educates and empowers people towards healthier eating. But it takes community effort to make this a reality, so we are always grateful when companies and organizations join us in this life-changing work.
On April 25th, around 200 enthusiastic and energized employees of UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare, and Optum packed nearly 1,800 You MATTER Snack Packs that will be distributed to youth in sports camps around the Twin Cities this summer.
You MATTER Snack Packs fill an important need for kids suffering from food insecurity—a growing problem in our country. According to the USDA, in 2016, 15.6 million U.S. households were uncertain or unable to provide enough food for their families to live active, healthy lives. To make matters worse, 13 million of these households included children. Besides suffering from a lack of proper nutrition, the daily strain of gnawing hunger and the continual stress of not knowing where the next meal will come from leaves children with little ability to concentrate on their academics or after school activities. You MATTER Snack Packs are a healthy, easy solution for that immediate hunger need. A quick snack of a delicious protein, a fruit and a healthy carbohydrate allows students to better focus on the challenges before them. Also included with each snack pack is an educational MATTER Challenge card to help students better understand the crucial role of healthy eating in their daily lives.
Each snack pack also contains a handwritten You MATTER note of encouragement. At the start of each packing event, volunteers begin by writing You MATTER notes that are included in the snack packs they will assemble. At the UnitedHealth Group event, words of hope and encouragement flowed from the pens of the volunteers who were eager to make a personal connection to the youth who would be receiving the packs.
Then the volunteers got down to the business of packing You MATTER Snack Packs in head-to-head competition style challenges. Laughter and cheering filled the room as more and more snack packs were assembled and a winner was declared in each group. The competition was fierce, but fun. And the volunteers never lost sight of the purpose for the event. When asked how it felt to participate, one volunteer said,
“It’s fun to work with your colleagues in a way you usually don’t get to and to give back to the community and hopefully brighten up someone’s day.”
Another volunteer summed up the feelings of many when she said,
“It’s amazing because you’re helping people and making a difference in kids’ lives.”
MATTER would like to thank the employees of UnitedHealth Group and the teams from UnitedHealthcare and Optum, whose efforts will make a real difference in the lives of youth this summer. If your organization would like to partner with MATTER to bring health and hope to our community through a MATTERbox packing event, please contact Tyler Van Eps at Tyler@matter.ngo