6 Easy Ways to Get Involved


Meals from the Heartland offers many ways right here at home in Iowa to become actively involved in fighting hunger around the world. Each year thousands of people are involved in our large Annual Hunger Fight, Spring Break Hunger Fight, support us with financial donations or organize their own hunger fight events. Last year over 33,000 individual volunteers participated in our hunger fighting events held throughout the year.

If you want to be a world changer and help food-insecure families have meals on their tables, here are several ways you to get involved:

  • Volunteer to Package Meals at our New Packaging Center

Meals from the Heartland is excited to announce that our new packaging center and warehouse located at 357 Lincoln Street in West Des Moines is now open and ready to fight hunger!

We are offering several opportunities each week to package meals at the new center.  Available meal packaging times include the following:

  1. Tuesdays,  10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  2. Wednesdays,   2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  3. Thursdays,   2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  4. Saturdays,   9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  and  9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Online registration is now open for these shifts at  The maximum number of volunteers per shift is 60.  These special packaging shifts at our new center are reserved for individuals and families.

Companies, churches and other organizations are able to reserve their own private packaging event at the new center.  Please call (515) 473-9530 or email for more information including the details regarding the cost of meals ingredients for a private event.

  • Volunteer at our Annual Hunger Fight in August

Meals from the Heartland holds its signature event, the Annual Hunger Fight, each year in late August.  The dates for our seventh Annual Hunger Fight are Wednesday August 27 through Saturday August 30, 2014.  The Annual Hunger Fight has grown to be the largest volunteer meal packaging event of its type in the United States, as well as the world.  During the 2013 event 15,000 volunteers packaged 5,171,000 meals. Over 5 million meals! That is an incredible number.

  • Donate to help support our hunger fighting efforts

Every dollar matters, whether it is $1, $100, $1,000 or more.  Just one dollar pays for five rice-soy meals or four macaroni and cheese meals! Please donate online at or mail your donation to:

Meals from the Heartland
357 Lincoln St
West Des Moines, IA 50265

  • Become a year round volunteer as an event team leader or floor support volunteer

We conduct hunger fights, large and small, mobile and packaging center, year round. With the opening of our new packaging center, The Patty Cownie Center, home of Meals from the Heartland, 357 Lincoln Street,
West Des Moines, we will be greatly expanding the number of hunger fights we conduct each year.  We will need to increase our team of devoted event team leaders, floor support and event greeter volunteers.  These individuals help set up events, welcome packagers, supervise the packaging process, manage the refills of the main ingredients and help with the cleanup when the event is over.

If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please email us at or call us at (515) 473-9530.  We would love to have you join our talented and devoted group of volunteers.

  • Plan your own hunger fight

During 2013 we held 85 separate hunger fighting events all over Central Iowa from Humboldt to Oskaloosa to Audubon. In order to reach our 2014 meal packaging goal of 10 million meals we need your help. We want to come to your community, school and church to package meals. If you are interested in learning more on how to organize your own hunger fight event, we would love to talk to you.

Please contact us at  or call us at (515) 473-9530 to discuss how you would like your community, school or church partner with Meals from the Heartland to fight hunger.

  •  Get your church or youth group involved

Meals from the Heartland is committed to engaging and encouraging youth to become involved in the fight against hunger.  We believe it is vital to encourage volunteer service at an early age in our young people.  In order to accomplish this, we have established a special Youth Grant program.

Meals from the Heartland has funding available for youth oriented hunger fights.  Wednesday evenings at the new packaging center are reserved specifically for church youth groups to package up to 5,000 meals.

The Youth Grant program also has matching funds available of up to 50%, subject to certain maximums, for youth events conducted with elementary and high schools, Boys and Girl Scouts, YMCAs, 4-H and other youth organizations.

Please contact us at  or call us at (515) 473-9530 to discuss how Meals from the Heartland can partner with your youth organization using one of these programs.

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Follow Our Progress!

We have a new goal for 2014 - 10 million meals! We packaged almost 8.7 million meals in 2013. To date in 2014, we have packaged 7,936,328 meals and are 79% of our goal!!!