Meals from the Heartland is looking for some more volunteers for its 10th annual event next week where millions of meals are packaged.
Executive Director Susan Bunz says it’s easy to volunteer. “You can go to our website at www.mealsfromtheheartland.org. It will provide you with some options on packaging times, so you can pick the one that works best for you. It’s a two hour shift,” according to Bunz.
She says they also have some spots that require a little more physical labor. “If somebody is interested in getting a little workout, they can be a bucket brigader and help replenish the soy and rice as people are packaging,” Bunz says. “Otherwise, it’s just a two-hour shift and you’ll feed about 400 people in the time person is there packaging.”
The work takes place next Wednesday (Aug 30) through Saturday in Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. Bunz says the packaging job involves pouring the ingredients through a funnel into a bag.
“You fill it with rice, soy, a scoop of vitamins and a scoop of vegetables. The bag is weighed and sealed and goes on a grid until the grid is full — and then it’s boxed,” Bunz says. She says they’ve had people as young as five working and as old as 99. Some of the meals stay in Iowa, while others travel out of the country.
“Through our Unite to Feed Program our meals are combined with some other ingredients and made available as emergency feed relief,” Bunz explains. “And then the remainder of the meals go internationally to a feeding program that provides meals to children in both schools and orphanages around the world.” Bunz says volunteers know the work they do will have an impact.
“Many of them are being loaded into semis right as they’re finished and boxed right on site down at Hy-Vee Hall. So, they’ll go out the back dock and they’ll get load onto a semi and get shipped out to the places where they are going to make a difference,” Bunz says.
Two-hour packaging shifts are available from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday of next week. And then from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday.