The University of Montana and the Missoula County United Way will team up for the second year for the annual University United Food Friday at the University Center Ballroom.

United Way CEO Susan Hay Patrick describes the event coming up on Friday.

“About 500 volunteers are expected to pack 100,000 meals between 12:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 20th,” said Hay Patrick. “It’s a nutritionally fortified meal and each package serves six people, and these meals will be distributed to families through the Missoula Food Bank’s ‘Empower Pack’ Program. It’s a program where teachers put food in the backpacks of children they think might struggle over the weekend or during school breaks.”

Hay Patrick said chronic hunger is a problem in many Missoula households.

“Teachers identify who may be hungry while away from school, and they surreptitiously slip some food in their backpacks, so this enables their families to enjoy a meal together,” she said. “President Seth Bodnar was new last year and was looking for a way to serve the community, and se we partnered up for the first event last year.”

Volunteers are asked to sign up online so that people can be matched up with shifts to put the Empower Pack’ meals together.

“They can sign up on our website at Missoula United Way dot org and there are a number of shifts available and so you don’t have to be there the whole time,” she said. “It’s really a fun teamwork event for families or teams of business people or students.”

Lead event sponsors include Wells Fargo and Providence Health and Services.