While he’s known as one of the top meetings technology educators in the industry, a lesser-known aspect
of Jim Spellos’ contribution to both the meetings industry and those with an acute need of
nutrition is his efforts working with Rock and
Wrap It Up!, an award-winning anti-poverty
think tank entering its 27th year.
Rock and Wrap It Up! started, as the
name implies, as a charitable organization
that primarily worked picking up leftover
food from concerts and then delivering that
food to the needy.
“I went there and I was a converted from
that point,” said Spellos, who is the group’s
director of digital media, about how he got
involved with the organization founded by Syd
Mandelbaum, its CEO, some 16 years ago.
Besides food donation, Rock and Wrap
It Up! dedicates it efforts to the following
The Mardi Bra Initiative, which raises
awareness and encourages the collection of
feminine hygiene products for at-risk teens
and other women.
Feed the Veterans, the group’s newest
initiative, which aims to get its databases of
pantries and soup kitchens into the hands
of caregivers and agencies that support at-
risk veterans and their families.
Providing Whole Earth Calculator Climate
Literacy Lesson Plans to its academic partners to enable students to undertake actions
to reduce poverty and carbon footprints.
According to Rock and Wrap It Up!,
donors include touring bands, educational
institutions, the hospitality industry, professional sports teams, hospitals and television
and film shoots throughout North America.
The segment for the largest potential
of growth, however, is the hospitality and
meetings industry, which by its very nature
produces tons of food waste. It’s a really
depressing aspect of an industry we all
value for its contribution in so many other
“It’s a huge void right now,” Spellos said
of the potential for collecting and distributing the prepared but not served food
from meetings, events and conventions.
“Of the 532,000 pounds of food collected by
4 percent, sometimes more than that.”