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The Big Cheese

The Big Cheese 4, Plus More!

1,000 Volunteers. 500,000 Meals for Berks Countians in need.


Each year we have invited volunteers from our waiting list to participate due to cancellations. To be added to the waiting list, please email Darby Wiekrykas.


Friday, June 15, 6 - 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 16, 9 a.m. to Noon

United Way's The Big Cheese is the largest United Way-driven meal packaging event in the country. Last year, more than 1,000 volunteers came together to package 500,000 nutrient-fortified mac and cheese meals for local families in need. The meals were packaged at Penn State Berks in two shifts, and the Greater Berks Food Bank distributed the meals to local school children through the Weekender Backpack program, as well as through food pantries located throughout Berks County and the Reading School District.

The 2018 Big Cheese event will be held June 15 from 6-9 p.m. and June 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at Penn State Berks. This year, we will package mac and cheese meals, plus rice and beans to help fight hunger in Berks County.


Information for volunteers - please read!

Date:  Friday, June  15   Saturday, June 16 
Time:  6 - 9 p.m.  9 a.m. - Noon
Registration Begins:  5:15 p.m.  8:15 a.m.
Registration Link: Friday registration is full. Click here to be placed on the waiting list Saturday registration is full. Click here to be placed on the waiting list

Location: Penn State Berks Beaver Community Center gym.  The Community Center is number 17 on this map.
Liability form: The Big Cheese Liability Form
T-shirt: T-shirts will be distributed at registration.  If you provided your size to United Way by May 24, your requested size is guaranteed.  If you provided your size after May 24, you will receive a shirt, but we cannot guarantee your size.
If your plans change: If you sign up for The Big Cheese and later discover you can no longer volunteer, please contact Darby Wiekrykas at darbyw@uwberks.org or 610-685-4574 as soon as possible. Each meal packaging line requires a specific number of volunteers, and no-shows on the day of the event will cause us to be short-handed on the lines. We also anticipate a waiting list for volunteers and would like to extend the opportunity to individuals on the list if you are unable to attend. Thank you for helping us make this a successful event!

Health and Safety Regulations:

  • A liability form must be signed for each member of your group.  Please print the Big Cheese Liability Form, sign it and bring it with you to registration.  Additional forms will be available at registration on the day of the event.
  • Water will be provided.  No food or drink is allowed in the packing area.  If you bring your own water bottle, please label it with your name. Water bottles must be stored in the hallway outside the gym.
  • Wear sneakers or other close-toed shoes.  Sandals, flip flops and other open-toed shoes are not permitted.
  • Hairnets and aprons will be provided and must be worn while in the gym. 

Fun Stuff:

  • Bring your phone and take lots of pictures.  #BigCheeseBerks  #UWBerks
  • We'll have music to keep you motivated.
  • You'll get to see what 500,000 meals looks like when we're done!
  • Check out last year's video below

If you have any questions, please contact Darby Wiekrykas at darbyw@uwberks.org or 610-685-4574.



Blue Bar

United Way of Berks County

P.O. Box 702

Reading, PA 19603



Current membership requirements completed

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