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Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago Partners with Hillshire Farms to Feed the Community

6/17/2015, 5:01 p.m.
Clients of the Pacific Garden Mission, 1458 S. Canal St. in Chicago recently enjoyed healthy bagged lunches, courtesy of Hashtag ...
Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago volunteers assemble 800 lunches for indigent citizens at the Resolution Productions Group building, 2226 W. Walnut St in Chicago. The meals were distributed to clients of the Pacific Garden Mission, 1458 S. Canal St. in Chicago. Photo by Lee Edwards

Clients of the Pacific Garden Mission, 1458 S. Canal St. in Chicago recently enjoyed healthy bagged lunches, courtesy of Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago (HLC) and Hillshire Farms who collaborated providing 800 meals for the homeless shelter.

“Hillshire Farms reached out to us with an opportunity that just fit,” said

Hashtag Lunchbag founders (l-r) Ajay Relen and JD Mcelroy collaborated with Hillshire Farms to sponsor a special Hashtag Lunchbag lunch assembly event at  the Resolution Productions Group building, 2226 W. Walnut St.

Hashtag Lunchbag founders (l-r) Ajay Relen and JD Mcelroy collaborated with Hillshire Farms to sponsor a special Hashtag Lunchbag lunch assembly event at the Resolution Productions Group building, 2226 W. Walnut St.

Ajay Relen, co-founder of HLC. “One of the entrées in our lunches is a very nutritious turkey sandwich and they were launching a very healthy new line of natural lunch meat so the partnership just makes sense.”

Hashtag Lunchbag, a 501 (c )3 non-profit organization was founded on Christmas Day 2012 in Los Angeles, Ca. by Relen and JD Mcelroy and distributes hundreds of prepackaged nutritious meals to indigent citizens. Over 120 Hashtag Lunchbag chapters exist worldwide. A typical HLC bagged lunch consists of a turkey sandwich, a bottle of water, a piece of fruit, a bag of cookies and an uplifting message.

“We’re really excited to be here in Chicago working with Hashtag Lunchbag,” said Hillshire Farms Brand Manager, Lunchmeat at Tyson Foods, Patrick McNamara. “We have a product, our Hillshire Farm Naturals Lunchmeat… Once we heard and saw how what Hashtag Lunchbag was doing…it just felt like it was a really good outreach to see how we could get involved.”

Fifteen Hillshire Farms employees volunteered during the HLC bagged lunch project.

HLC Coordinator, Ebony Nicole Washington, learned of Hashtag Lunchbag via social media and launched a Chicago chapter in Aug. 2013. Today, HLC has over 50 committed volunteers who assemble 800-1,000 lunches on average a month.

“It’s just amazing the response that we get and the turnout that we get from different companies and different businesses in Chicago as well as volunteers in general,” said Washington. “We have entire families and co-workers that show up so it’s just a great to see so many diverse people come together for a cause.”

Long time Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago volunteer Bianca Jasmine Clark began attending events in Nov. 2014.

“I’m happy that we’re getting noticed and that people are seeing the good deeds that we’re trying to do in Chicago because so many negative things are going on so to have this positive experience and to be noticed by Hillshire Farms it feels really good,” said Clark.

To learn more about Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago visit @HTLBChicago on Twitter or search #HashtagLunchbagCHI.

To learn more about Hashtag Lunchbag visit http://www.hashtaglunchbag.org/.