Forest Park Ministries - Rally for the Galley
Name of Team Captain: Steffanie Patterson
Team Member Names: Jennifer Casagrande, David Cobb, Lara Lewis, J’varra McCall-Martin, Marvin Smith
Agency Assisted: Forest Park Ministries
Project’s Thematic Area: Poverty & the Less Fortunate
Project Location: Forest Park Ministry Center food pantry – 1551 East Ann Street Montgomery, AL 36109
Date(s) of Implementation Procuring rally points: 9/15/17-1/28/18 Soliciting Riders 12/15/17-3/23/18 Marketing, social media, promotional exposure – October 2017 – March 23, 2018
Duration of Project: Preparation: 6 months Project Date: March 24, 2018 7am-3pm
Who was served by the project?
Hundreds of River Region families who experience food insecurity rely on food from the Forest Park Ministry food pantry (“galley”) – which is called: Harvest – A Galley of Grace. The food pantry allows its clients to shop for food while allowing their dignity to remain intact, and providing them with choices. Rally for the Galley provided results which will allow Forest Park Ministry to reach additional families, buy more food, and expand available choices.
Forest Park Ministry is a cooperative effort of Montgomery Baptist Association churches (62) to reach those in need of physical and spiritual needs.
How many people benefited?
It’s hard to quantify exactly how many people will benefit; currently, Forest Park Ministry feeds 150 families a month which is 300-350 people. They provide approximately 5,000 pounds of food a month. Rally for the Galley 2018 resulted in 10 truckloads of nonperishable food (approximately 10,000 pounds of food) and $2900 in donations. The money will be spent at the Montgomery Area Food Bank where they can buy in bulk at $.18 per pound, which is another 16,000 pounds of food to include perishable and nonperishable food. That’s a total of 26,000 pounds of food which is approximately five months’ worth.
This could enable Forest Park Ministry to increase the number of families they help, keep their food pantry stocked longer, or increase the number of times they help the current families they are assisting.
Final project description:
Food insecurity is a major issue in the River Region, and that is what Rally for the Galley seeks to combat. The 5th annual Rally for the Galley is a motorcycle ride that encompasses stops at multiple “rally points” where food has been collected for the food pantry. We met with Donna McCullough, Director, of Forest Park Ministry Center during our initial assignment at the Leadership Montgomery retreat. She provided us with a history of the ride and what Forest Park Ministry Center hoped to accomplish.
Team members toured Forest Park Ministry Center, and the food pantry to observe the process of how its clients are served. We witnessed the compassion and dignity with which people were treated, and their positive response to being allowed choices in the food pantry. We were provided an in-depth explanation of the additional services provided and how citizens are vetted to receive assistance. We met with Sonny Wheat and Curtis Carroll who represent Heritage Faith Riderz, motorcycle club, instrumental for founding this event. They are responsible for leading the motorcycles to the various churches and businesses around the River Region to collect the food.
After gaining an inside glimpse at how the food pantry was run, and how the riders assisted in the efforts to increase food and monetary donations, our team very quickly established goals for the project:
We developed a divide and conquer approach. Certain team members were individually tasked with contacting businesses, military and academic institutions to become “rally points”; food drive collection points. They developed a list of prospects and focused on making contact. Other team members identified a list of area motorcycle riding clubs and solicited their members. A third team created a promotional marketing plan and worked to implement it. All team members collaborated on involving Leadership Montgomery colleagues to execute assignments.
On the day of the event, all team members assisted with registration, rally point logistics, stocking the food pantry, food prep for the Rally ending meal, and clean up.
Now that the event is over, here are the final statistics based on our goals:
Media Outlets Contacted:
What is the vision for the future of the project?
Donna McCullough, director of Forest Park Ministry Center, hopes to expand on the ride in upcoming years to be even more successful. The ultimate goal would be to utilize the exposure and connections gained to grow the ability to help more families fight hunger and help current families more often. There’s discussion of establishing a board or a committee of volunteers to help sustain the project going forward. They would build on the media exposure by involving radio and newspaper, and increase the social media platforms involved. There would be face to face meetings with potential partners showing the testimonial video and brochure. Faith Riderz would go to other motorcycle group meetings to encourage participation – people with the same passions are great recruiters. Additionally, team 3 will create a sponsorship package involving a commemorative Rally for the Galley item to help increase monetary donations for year 6.
Describe exactly how your project was implemented.
We had multiple meetings to discuss assignments, timeline, and deadlines.
The marketing committee created a new logo, Rally for the Galley poster, updated letters with the logo, and a brochure by mid-January with feedback from Forest Park Ministry Center. . The testimonial video by WCOV was also started at this time. A plan was laid for the remaining social media, promotional announcements, and media coverage to commence in mid to late February.
Rally point participants were finalized in late January (there were 32 total). Heritage Baptist Church Faith Riderz then mapped out three different routes – two of them were shorter and went through Montgomery and one of them was longer and went into the countryside and many of the churches involved. Team members provided Rally for the Galley food donation posters to each rally point, as well as food collection bins as needed. Donna McCullough and her crew were gracious in providing these. We checked back with each location along the way to see if they needed additional items. As we got closer to the event, each site was thanked for their involvement and given an approximate time of pick-up of their donation items. Arrangements were also made to pinpoint where the food could be found (i.e. Loading dock at MMI, reception desk at Jackson-Thornton, etc.).
Motorcycle riding groups were initially contacted in October with solicitation letters as well as the redesigned Rally poster, but we discovered that many of the groups do not plan so far out. We re-initiated contact in early January, and identified additional leads. We went out to a local motorcycle dealership and recruited riders, as well as utilized our Leadership Montgomery classmates to find contacts. Several teammates had the idea to go to social media and identify additional groups and dealerships to engage. Through this, we found a local business that provided us with giveaway items for the riders on event day. We set up a pre-registration site through Eventbrite, We had 14 pre-register (at a discounted rate), and 25 sign up on the day of. Weather plays a very important role, so we were blessed with a beautiful day.
The social media campaign began on February 21st with the creation of a Facebook event page/rider registration page – housed under MBA Forest Park Ministries. There were rider recruitment/informational posts every day. On March 1st – promotional announcements for rider recruitment began airing on local television stations. Beginning on March 18th and leading up to the event – there were five media interviews with Donna attending all, and teammates attending 4.
On March 9th, a small contingent of team 3 and Donna went onto Gunter Air Force Base to receive a $620 check from the First Sergeants’ Academy legacy donation. Chief Conrad Dawes was present for the presentation and graduation of this group. He was key in Forest Park Ministry food pantry receiving these funds.
The week of the event, Faith Riderz sent the truck drivers the route and directions. The drivers would accompany the motorcycles to each rally point to get the collected food and then return to the food pantry with it. More trucks were needed this year due to the increase in rally points. Donna also let our team know where our help would be most needed on the day of the event, and we were able provide a general outline of where we needed to assist. Rob Casagrande was recruited to be a photographer and Kevin Patterson to be a truck driver.
This same week, it was necessary to provide Gunter Air Force Base with credentials for the riders that would go on base due to security reasons. We identified people that had pre-registered and obtained their information. We received their commitment to ride on the designated route taking them to this location.
The morning of the event, we arrived at Heritage Baptist Church (staging area) at 7am, with a list of pre-registered riders, maps and waiver forms. We checked in pre-registered riders, and signed up new riders. All received maps and signed waiver forms and giveaways. The three routes were assigned a member of Faith Riderz as a ride captain. The journeys began at 8am. From 830am – 12pm team members went to the food pantry to help stock donated items or went to rally points they were involved in or helped set up the food for the cookout. The three trips finished between 12pm-130pm. AALOS brought their fire truck to the pantry to help celebrate. In the end, 10 trucks returned to the food pantry, $1230 was collected at Gunter AFB from the Senior Chief’s Course, and an additional $1000 was raised through registration funds and monetary donations, along with the $620 previously collected.
How many volunteer hours were devoted to this project?
Tour of the food pantry – 1.5 hours x 6 = 9 hours
Breakfast meeting with Faith Riderz – 1.5 hours x 6 = 9 hours
Team meetings – 5 hours x 6 = 30 hours
Marketing/promotion/media= 60 hours
Rider solicitation = 30 hours
Rally point solicitation/followup = 30 hours
Project report/presentation = approximately 5 hours per teammate = 30 hours
Total: 198 hours