Thousands of volunteers in central Iowa are working to set a record by packaging millions of meals for the hungry. Meals from the Heartland executive director, David Bradley, says volunteers are working in downtown Des Moines to package meals in bags.

He says they have 100 tables with 10 volunteers each who package four ingredients through a funnel. “One is rice, one is textured soy from right here in the midwest, and we also add dried vegetables and dried vitamins and minerals. And you combine all that, pass it down, weigh it, seal it, and box it,” Bradley explains.

The effort began Wednesday with a new one-day packaging mark. “We did one-million-340,000 meals, which set a new record for us,” Bradley says. Some 200,000 of the packaged meals will stay in central Iowa to feed the hungry. The rest will going out across the state and to other countries as well.

“We have a special partnership with Convoy of Hope out of Springfield, Missouri for international distribution. We send a million or so meals each year to South Africa and support food distributions in Haiti, ElSalvador, Honduras and other countries,” according to Bradley.

The packaging assembly lines will continue through Saturday with hopes of hitting an all-time mark for the most meals put together in one effort. “The goal is to hit five-million meals. The most we’ve ever done before is four-point-four million in the four days, so this would be a new record. And to our knowledge, this is the largest food packaging event of its type in the country each year,” Bradley says.

Volunteer shifts for the packaging are still available through Saturday. The organization also takes on donations from individuals and sponsors to fund the raw materials needed for packaging meals.

Volunteer registration and donations may be made on-line at: www.mealsfromtheheartland.org.