As the 25th Anniversary of the Preston and Steve Camp Out for Hunger takes place this week (11/07-11/11/22), we at Philabundance are taking a moment to look back at the history of this incredible event and some of the people who have helped support it, ensuring it comes together. One group that has become an integral part of Camp Out has become known as the Pink Shirts. They are a party of dedicated and passionate volunteers who show up every year to support the event.
You will see the Pink Shirts unloading donations from the cars of people who drive over to Camp Out. They work from before sunrise to after sunset, through rain and snow, to ensure each donation is captured. The group came together randomly, just like other people who came to Camp Out and wanted to help. Over the years this tight-knit bunch gets together for holidays and birthdays and begins their planning for Camp Out over the summer.
Wonder how this amazing group got their name? The team got their name out of necessity. After volunteering for a few years together, the Pink Shirts became more familiar with the flow and they became relied upon to make sure the donation part of the event ran smoothly. To ensure they stood out among other volunteers one of the members knew someone who could make t-shirts and simply decided on the color pink so they would stand out.
Every year about 12-15 members sign up for their volunteer shifts, book hotel rooms, take off work, and head over to Camp Out. There really is only one rule to be a member – you have to show up and you have to work hard. The members come back because of the friendships they have built but also because of the feeling they get by doing good work – seeing all of the food going into Philabundance trucks knowing it will go to people who need it.
After 5 days of early mornings and cold nights, the Pink Shirts take a moment on their last morning to watch the sunrise and think about all they have accomplished in the week. They might be happy to head home that day but are also sad to leave Camp Out – as they leave they are already thinking about next year.
You can visit the Pink Shirts at Camp Out for Hunger by bringing donations of our most needed items. The list can be found on our Camp Out for Hunger webpage.