COON RAPIDS, Minn. – The ball was already dropping on 2015 and Danny Pham hadn’t yet made his resolution.
“I need to be committed to something new for next year,” the 26-year-old told himself as time was running out.
Danny made his decision.
On Thursday, he’ll be recognized by Twin Cities-based Feed My Starving Children for showing up to pack food every single day the non-profit was open in 2016.
“We do have people that come a lot, but he’s the only one that we know of who’s said 'I’m going to be here every day for a year,'” says Gretchen Luedtke, a team leader at FMSC’s Coon Rapids packing facility.
PHOTOS: Volunteer packs meals every day of 2016
Feed My Starving Children packs food six days a week. Despite being self-employed in real estate management, Danny has found time to volunteer at least one shift a day for a year – and often more.
“Serving God is one of the most important things for me,” says Danny, who hopes his year of daily volunteer service will serve as an example to others. “If you put your mind to something and believe you can do it, you can accomplish it,” he says.
Feed My Starving Children operates seven packing facilities in three states, plus mobile packing operations.
Heading into its 30th anniversary, FMSC’s volunteers have packed more than 1.5 billion meals distributed to malnourished people in 70 countries around the globe.
Lisa Ellis, site manager in Coon Rapids, says Danny’s impact has been felt beyond her walls. “He’s coming every single day, but it’s more than just putting food in a bag, it’s literally saving lives.”
To keep up with his commitment, Danny missed out on a trip to Miami and a friend’s wedding.
“We had a power outage one time here,” says Gretchen Luedtke, “so he went down to our Eagan site to pack.”
During his year of service, Danny honed his packing skills, perfecting a technique that’s allowed him to fill bags with one hand that typically require two.
“His level of efficiently is absolutely amazing,” says Judy Watke, development advisor for FMSC. “When other volunteers come they want to work with him or they’re afraid to work with him,” Watke laughs.
Though his daily commitment is complete, Danny plans to continue packing meals at Feed My Starving Children once a week.
“This is the first time ever I’ve gone through with my entire New Year’s resolution,” Danny says. “I knew that this was a bigger cause than myself.”