On a recent Friday night in June, employees of Illinois Bone & Joint Institute and their families dedicated their evening to a great cause – feeding people in need. The IBJI group of 26 joined about 100 others in a Libertyville warehouse to pack several thousand life-saving meals for Feed My Starving Children, a global not-for-profit. FMSC distributes the meals to hungry people in 70 countries via partnerships with orphanages, schools, clinics, refugee camps and malnourishment centers.
Tara Banick, PT, DPT and IBJI’s Rehab Manager in Libertyville organized the event. “It was a wonderful experience. During the day, we’re all so busy taking care of patients. This was a rewarding way to spend time together with our rehab and physician teams.”

Working in groups of five to seven, the volunteers, including staff from IBJI’s Libertyville, Gurnee and Buffalo Grove offices measured, mixed, weighed, bagged and boxed 67 boxes full of nutrient-dense meals.

“In just two hours we packed enough to feed 14,472 people,” said Kurtistine Stackhouse, an IBJI scheduler who brought her grandson and two of his friends. “We learned that our effort specifically will feed 40 kids for a whole year in an orphanage in El Salvador!”

Each meal bag included a vegan mix of soy, rice, powdered vitamins and dehydrated vegetables. Hot water is added when it’s used at the destination.
“If you had this as a side dish at a restaurant, you’d think it was pretty good!” said Tara. “Kind of like Rice-a-Roni.”

Tara heads up IBJI Rehab’s philanthropy committee which raises money and rallies staff around good causes like FMSC, Habitat for Humanity and others.

And the group’s good deeds have a way of inspiring more good.

Says Kurtistine, “It really touched me how people had a heart for others. When there’s a need, IBJI always says, let’s help. I’m going to bring a group back from my church.”

Says Tara, “It was a wonderful networking and giving experience. We all do what we do because we care about people. We’ll do this event again and see how many more IBJI people we can get!”