Volunteers Send 50,000 Meals to Hungry

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It only took volunteers in Lansing a few hours Saturday morning to pack 50,000 meals for the hungry, which will be sent to the starving all over the world.

The Kids Against Hunger Coalition sponsored the event at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Around 130 volunteers formed assembly lines that quickly filled small plastic bags with precise amounts of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamins and minerals.

The bags were then heat sealed, boxed and wheeled to a trailer outside.

"I saw a lot of Christians that are really working hard to love the world," said Chuck Bailey, the director of Kids Against Hunger Grand Rapids. "It's a great system. We love working with churches and schools, businesses, colleges, and so on and we can't do enough events."

Each bag can feed six adults and as many as 12 children, Bailey said. And each meal contains 11 grams of protein and 12 minerals, which the coalition says reverses the starvation process.

Patrick Brennan was one of the many volunteers helping Saturday morning. He says people have a hunger to help the hungry.

"When you see people suffering and you see people in need, it's like we want to rally as a community and we want to meet that need," he said. "It's very important, especially as Christians, we want to live the gospel. And when Jesus says feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, we want to take that seriously, so it's part of that gospel mission."

MSU sophomore Alyssa Klein organized a team of 25 students from her parish at St. John's in East Lansing. They were all smiles as they posed for a picture at the end of the morning.

"It was a lot of fun," she said. "There was so much energy and everybody was excited to give back and get away from the hectic, stresses of school and just do something good and worthwhile."

It was the second year for the event at St. Thomas Aquinas, and it grew substantially from last year, Bailey said.

He hopes the program can do the same statewide. Last year, Kids Against Hunger packed 2.5 million meals. This year, it's shooting for 3.5 million meals.

One-third of meals will stay in Lansing, given to local food banks. The remaining will be taken back to a warehouse. Half of it will be stored there in case of a natural disaster. The other half will be sent to third-world countries in dire need.

"I think it's really important to realize there are children who maybe don't have as many things as you do," said Klein. "There are people who don't have food, one of the basic necessities that you're taking for granted every day. So it's really nice to give back to that."

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