United Way's The Big Cheese is the largest United Way-driven meal packaging event in the country. More than 1,000 volunteers come together to package 500,000 nutrient-fortified mac and cheese meals for local families in need. The meals are packaged at Penn State Berks in two shifts, and Helping Harvest (formerly known as the Greater Berks Food Bank) distributes the meals to local school children through the Weekender Backpack program, as well as through food pantries located throughout Berks County. The Reading School District also receives a portion of the meals, which are distributed to children in the summer lunch program.
In an abundance of caution, The Big Cheese 6 has been postponed until 2021. Volunteers will be needed for meal packaging and heavy lifting, and slots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Details will be released next year.