Volunteers package Meals from the Heartland.

Volunteers package Meals from the Heartland.

A massive volunteer effort in central Iowa late last month will result in needy people worldwide eating at least a few nutritious meals.

Susan Bunz, organizer of the Meals from the Heartland Annual Hunger Fight, says volunteers — over a four-day period — packaged 4,032,504 meals. “Our goal was 5 million, which would have taken about 15,000 people. We ended up with about 13,000 volunteers, which is still amazing,” Bunz said.

This was the eighth year for the Hunger Fight and Bunz speculates that volunteer numbers may’ve been down because the organization now has a package center that’s open year-round in West Des Moines. “So, people get to package more often and when they want to,” Bunz said. “People can go to our website, look at a calendar to see the opening package times that we have, and people can just sign up and come in and package when it’s convenient for them.”

The Meals from the Heartland package center opened one year ago. The organization also hosts mobile packaging events around the state. “We have one coming up in Story City and one in Cresco,” Bunz said. “We have an event that’s going to be held at the Fort Dodge Correctional Center, so we can go just about anywhere.”

The Cresco packaging event is scheduled for September 19. The event in Story City is September 26th. Another food packaging drive is scheduled for October 21 in Cherokee.

The recent Hunger Fight drive that resulted in the production of over 4 million meals was held at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.