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Young volunteers packaged ingredients for the Kids Against Hunger meals. More than 4,000 meals were produced at the one-day event, each capable of feeding up to six children.

Submitted photo
Herald Staff Writer

More than 100 members of Zion Lutheran Church took a stand against hunger Sunday, preparing over 4,000 meal packets to be distributed to impoverished families overseas. The church partnered with Kids Against Hunger of Quad Cities, a satellite branch of a national organization that prepares cheap, yet nutritious meal packages for those in need.

The event was organized as part of a family Sunday School session, according to organizer Jurgen Duhr. In addition to providing aid to those in need, he said, it was a good opportunity for families to work together on a service project.

“We had multiple generations,” Duhr said. “It was really outstanding to see families working together. Mom and dad and the kids.”

Each meal prepared by the volunteers, who ranged in age from 3 to 90, contains basic food supplies designed to deliver key nutrients.

Rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a chicken-flavored mineral powder are placed into sealed bags that have an estimated shelf life of three years. Each meal has six servings and has an ingredient cost of 25 cents.

The kids enjoyed the process, according to Duhr, and were given an opportunity to learn about the challenges faced by their counterparts in less wealthy countries. In fact, he said getting the kids to help out wasn’t the hard part. Getting them to stop proved more difficult.

“Some of the kids didn’t want to stop working,” Duhr said. “They got started and they knew they were making a contribution.”

Kids Against Hunger, a national humanitarian food-aid organization, has distributed over 162 million meals to over 60 countries, including the United States, since its foundation in 1999. The organization’s website asserts that over 1 billion people worldwide are underfed, and that a child is lost every six seconds to hunger-related illness or injury.

To help fight hunger, domestically as well as globally, Kids Against Hunger organizes drives, usually in conjunction with organizations, businesses, churches or schools, wherein volunteers package the food ingredients from bulk containers.

The meals are then shipped out to impoverished areas, like Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Vietnam.

The organization tries to ship at least two thirds of the meals overseas, but some are distributed in the United States.

Of the 4,320 meals produced by the Zion Lutheran volunteers, 10 percent were donated to area food pantries. The rest will be distributed throughout Haiti and Nicaragua.

Duhr said that this was the first such event in Clinton, though organizers were inspired by a Kids Against Hunger drive in Fulton. However, given the success of Sunday’s event, Duhr said it’s something he would like to see grow into an annual event.

“It was just a great experience,” he said.

Contributions from Kohl’s Cares, Thrivent, Zion Vacation Bible School offerings, Women of Zion and New Hope Lutheran church covered the costs.

To get more information about upcoming Kids Against Hunger events, visit KAHQC.com.

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