Frost Brown Todd teams up with Million Meal Movement to help fight local hunger

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The main conference room of an Indianapolis law firm was recently filled with formally dressed attorneys who added something quite unusual to their wardrobes – hairnets.

More than 60 Frost Brown Todd LLC attorneys, paralegals and business professionals rallied together on March 1 to give back to their community after putting a pandemic-prompted pause on in-person community service events.

Some members of the Frost Brown Todd team gather after assembling 10,000 packages of food for the Million Meal Movement on March 1. (Submitted photo)

Maggie Smith, a member of the Indianapolis FBT office and chair of the internal FBT Cares Committee, said with the caution of contracting COVID-19 still hanging in the air the firm decided to bring its March 2022 community project in-house.

So Smith called up Million Meal Movement, an Indianapolis-based organization that feeds hungry Hoosiers while promoting volunteerism through group meal-packing events.

The law firm and Million Meal Movement staff cleared out the conference room and set up three makeshift assembly lines. Everyone was handed a bright orange hairnet and split into two groups of 30 workers.

A developer hired by Million Meal focused on crafting a tasty mac-and-cheese formula packed with vitamins and nutrients.  That meal was the top-requested food item by Hoosiers receiving help from local food pantries, Smith said, which is why Million Meals chose to offer it.

Each group worked for an hour and a half, with six to 14 people per assembly line. After three hours had passed, the groups had packed a total of 10,000 meals of mac and cheese.

Attorneys and staff who couldn’t attend the packing event made financial contributions to the cause. Smith said it cost roughly $4,000 to make the 10,000 meals.

“Before we started, they even told us all the meals that you pack today are going to this specific food bank. That just made it even more personal, that people right here in the Indianapolis area are going to get these 10,000 meals,” Smith said.

The assembly line process started with one person scooping noodles, another person scooping the cheese, the next person weighing the amounts and then the sealers and box packers wrapping it up before starting all over again.

“It was kind of funny to see some of these attorneys in their suits with the hair nets, the gloves, and then being covered head to toe in macaroni and cheese,” Smith laughed. “I guess I probably should have told (them), (they were) going to get messy.”

Packing the meals together as a team was fun, Smith said.

“Not only did you take pride in knowing that you were meeting a real need right here in central Indiana, but we had a blast doing,” she said. “COVID-19 so interrupted the social aspect of law firms that (this) was one of the biggest times where we’ve come together. They were playing music and we were all laughing and singing, and it was just great.”

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