"I was looking for a project to volunteer and give back to the community," said Lincoln REALTOR® Barb Fitchett. She found it last fall when her church got involved in Kids Against Hunger, an international food relief campaign.
Here's how it works: Volunteers assemble food packets containing rice, soy beans, dried vegetables, and chicken seasoning powder. Whoever receives the packet boils the contents in 6-10 cups of water for 20 minutes. These packets provide six nutritionally-complete servings at a low cost per serving.
"To be able to feed a child for 23 cents is awesome to me," said Fitchett. Since it's totally volunteer driven, all monetary donations go directly to buying food supplies.
She decided to round up some co-workers at Woods Bros. Realty-Country Club Plaza to volunteer. Since this January, a packing team has met the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. in a donated warehouse at 2324 Kimarra Drive.
Recently, Fitchett and eight volunteers, including Lou Villalobos, Lynne Schroeder, Jane Peek, Julie Howard, Mary Kuhlman, Dory Marsh, Joanne McCoy and Kent Obrist worked at an assembly line filling bags with ingredients before each bag was weighed, sealed and boxed.
The group said having 10-12 volunteers on each assembly line is ideal. In two hours, ten volunteers can assemble and pack 800 bags. The warehouse has four assembly lines available for volunteers. With this in mind, the group encouraged more people to come out and help.
"You can do a lot in a short amount of time," remarked Villalobos. "It's worthwhile to come for even 45 minutes or an hour," Fitchett added.
While it's an international campaign, it helps first at local and national levels. These packets are put in backpacks as part of the local BackPack Program and also used at the City Mission. What isn't used locally is used nationally and what isn't used nationally is sent overseas via the Armed Forces, which provides the transportation at no cost.
Each volunteer agreed that it was a great project and a lot of fun. Students can participate as part of their school's community service requirement. Parents have brought children as young as five years old to help. Several groups meet at different times to assemble the food packets.
For more information visit www.kidsagainsthunger.com or call Barb Fitchett at 432-2649.
"It's a simple program, it just takes people," she said.
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