Fast-moving relay teams will line up in downtown Des Moines today, and while it has nothing to do with the Olympics, it does involve an international good will effort.
Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Drake University’s athletic director, says eight-member teams of student-athletes and staff will be racing against each other to fill bags of rice, beans and other nutrients as part of an effort called Meals From the Heartland.
"Their intent is to provide three-million meals for starving people around the world," Harfield Clubb says. "We’re going to compete for the Heartland Cup and hope it draws attention so that people will come in and sign up for an event that will take place the first week in September."
Today’s event is a warm-up for the big volunteer effort that will bring in people from across Iowa. The non-profit organization packages and sends meals to help starving and malnourished children in Belize, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Nicaragua. Hatfield Clubb says dozens of Drake students and staff will be taking part in this promotional practice run.
She says it’s an assembly line where they bag and box the meals and each team, including staff, football, volleyball and soccer players, will compete to see who can package the most meals. Hundreds of volunteers will be needed to take part in the main event, September 1-9.
Anyone can help during two-hour shifts, including children as young as five. The nine-day event will also include an effort to help Iowans in need by restocking food pantries statewide with non-perishable food items brought in by the volunteers. For more information, see the Meals from the Heartland website .