Everything You Need to Know About Being a Helping Hand Volunteer at the Million Meal Marathon

Updated 9/11/2023

The Million Meal Marathon is a one day event held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in partnership with the Pacers Sports and Entertainment. Thousands of Hoosiers gather in an attempt to pack one million meals in one day. Each and every meal packed at the Million Meal Marathon stays right here in Indiana, benefiting hungry Hoosiers. This positive, hands-on experience is family-friendly and engaging. As you can imagine, it’s no easy feat to pull off an event of this size, and we can’t do it without our Helping Hands (formerly M3 Crew) volunteers. We depend on volunteers like you to make this event a success. We know you have questions about being a Helping Hands volunteer at the Million Meal Marathon – and we have answers!

Here’s everything you need to know about being an Helping Hands Volunteer at the Million Meal Marathon:

When is this year’s Million Meal Marathon?

This year’s Million Meal Marathon is Thursday, October 26, 2023 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

What are Helping Hands Volunteers?

Helping Hands are non-packing volunteers that help run our meal packing events. They also help us run the Million Meal Marathon, making it possible for packing volunteers to pack one million meals in one day.


What’s the difference between a packing and non-packing volunteer?

A packing volunteer is an individual who signs up, either as an individual or with an organization, to participate in the meal-packing process. They’re the ones filling, weighing and sealing the meal bags. A non-packing volunteer is an individual who signs up to be a Helping Hands volunteer. They’re the ones instructing our packing volunteers, refilling supplies, and taping and moving boxes.

Who can be a Helping Hand?

Anyone! We can’t stress enough how family-friendly our events are. It’s a part of our mission: teaching the importance of volunteerism. While there are some jobs that require heavy lifting or do require an age limit, there are plenty of jobs that are perfect for little hands or those with lifting restrictions. Bottom line: there is a job for everyone and we welcome volunteers of all ages.


You say all ages are welcome to volunteer at the Marathon. Do you really mean it?

Absolutely! If you’re still apprehensive, give us a call (317-863-8655) or send us an email (info@millionmealmovement.org) and we’ll answer any of your questions or concerns.

What if I’ve never packed a meal or volunteered with Million Meal Movement before?

Prior packing experience is helpful, but definitely not a requirement for volunteering. Everyone on our team is friendly and welcoming, so if you’re unsure of what to do we’ll walk you through it.

Does it cost anything to be a Helping Hand?

No, we just ask for a few hours of your time. Parking at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the parking lot attached to it on the day of the Million Meal Marathon is free. Bonus: you get a free T-shirt and get to be down on the floor of Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

What are the job responsibilities of Helping Hands Volunteers at the Million Meal Marathon?

  • Event Set Up: Help prep and set up for the Marathon the morning of the event at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
  • Check-In: Assist volunteers and participants during the check-in process.
  • Line Leader: Monitor 2-3 lines (tables) to ensure packing volunteers understand the process and have what they need. Line leaders also make sure packers are filling, weighing, and sealing the bags properly. Line leaders may oversee the table of adults or children. Prior packing experience is helpful for this position.
  • Warehouse: Refill ingredients and supplies during the event. Lifting 30-50 lbs. Tape and move filled boxes to a pallet. Some light lifting of filled boxes if able, however this position is suitable for families or groups that want to work as a team.
  • Clean Up Crew: Clear tabletops, organize and sort packing supplies, stack supplies on pallets. Adults and older children are preferred for this shift (minimum age 10+)as there will be a lot of moving items.

What are the available shift times for the Marathon?

  • Set Up Crew: 5 am – 10 am (we will have plenty of coffee and doughnuts!)
  • Shift 1: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
  • Shift 2: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
  • Shift 3: 5 – 8 pm
  • Clean Up: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • These shifts are different from the Meal Packing shifts. We ask you to show up 30 minutes early to make sure you know where everything is and stay 30 minutes later to help with clean up

I can’t volunteer on the day of the Marathon. Is there another way I can help?

Yes! We need Helping Hands for Marathon prep at our Warehouse on Monday, October 23 and Tuesday, October 24.  More information about this shift is available on our Givebutter page.

How do I sign up to be a Helping Hands volunteer for the Marathon?

Use our Givebutter page to sign up for your desired shift time.

We hope we’ve answered everything, but if you still have questions reach out to us! Call us (317-863-8655) or send us an email (info@millionmealmovement.org) and we’ll answer any of your Million Meal Marathon volunteer questions or concerns.

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