Members of the Greek Orthodox Church Folk Dance and Choral Festival (FDF) will kick off their 41st annual festival by packaging 41,000 meals to combat childhood hunger.
The event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 16, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Volunteers ranging from seven years of age to adult will work with the Feeding Children Everywhere hunger project, a nonprofit to help package food for those in need.
“The packaging is very competitive,” said Director of Development and Communications Kristen Bruskas, with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco. “It is very fast paced, with motivating music. About 100 to 150 volunteers will get their gloves, hair nets and hats on to fill and weigh the packages as fast as possible within 90 minutes.”
The hunger project is open to anyone who wants to volunteer, said Bruskas, but primarily for members of the Greek Orthodox Church and those attending the festival later in the week. Volunteers can sign up online.
The food, mostly grains and nonperishables, are provided by Feed Children Everywhere to be packaged and distributed locally and internationally.
“It gives people a sense of the bigger picture,” said Bruskas. “Something bigger than individuals. That’s something we do as a church is reach out to people. We’re going to this convention and before even getting to the main events we’re going to reach out and help others first.”
As many as 1,000 to 3,000 people are expected to be in attendance for the festival, which will feature traditional Greek folk dance competitions from Feb. 17-19, Bruskas said.
It is the largest gathering of Greek Orthodox youth in the U.S., according to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco. Around 67 parishes from all over the Western U.S. will be in attendance.
The festival is geared to promote Greek heritage and culture through dance, art and music, and is open to the public.
A one-day pass is $25 and a three-day pass is $70, according to the FDF website.
The hunger project will take place in the parking structure of the Town and Country Resort, while the festival will be held within the hotel’s convention center, located at 500 Hotel Circle North.