Helping the hungry

Local students and Kiwanis members packaged several thousand meals on Sunday that will be sent to hungry children overseas.

Tom McLaughlin, Chairman of the Kids Against Hunger Committee said the Main Street Kiwanis USA Club has been hosting between 10 to 12 packaging events like the one held this past weekend at The Bridge for 10 years. At this most recent packaging, the Kiwanis Club partnered with the Webster City High School Student Council to package rice and soy casserole meals. In just about an hour, the 19 students and several Kiwanis members had packaged 3,000 meals. McLaughlin said the meals will be sent to Haiti and Tanzania.

Pam Ryan, Faculty Advisor to the student council, said the idea to volunteer for a packaging event was suggested by a student at their social concerns group. The council also hosts two blood drives and a dance marathon to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Ryan said she appreciates the time that 19 local students gave on Sunday to help others.

“For me, this is an important thing for kids to be getting in high school. Service to the community should be a part of their lives,” Ryan said.

In the decade that Kids Against Hunger has packaged meals, McLaughlin said they have worked with many local groups. That includes 4-H clubs, school organizations, church groups and nursing home residents. The Kiwanis club and other volunteers have also packaged macaroni and cheese meals that were dispersed to those in need in the United States.

“The international model for Kiwanis is to care for the children. What better way to do that than feeding the hungry children of the world?” McLaughlin said. “It’s small compared to some events you might see on TV, but it’s good to do something here in the community.”