The students of Ankeny Christian Academy hosted a Meals From the Heartland Hunger Fight as part of their week of service to help raise money for their school.
Meals From the Heartland was fortunate to have the volunteers from John Deere Financial host a packaging event this month. Through the generosity of time donated by the employee volunteers, there was a total of 170 packagers!
During their event, the teams and managers worked together to package roughly 60,700 meals to be distributed to those in need. The teams also had the opportunity to learn about the Meals From the Heartland mission and vision, why and how we do the good that we do, and how vital it is to have help from the community.
Thank you John Deere Financial for your hard work, your generosity and your teamwork!
Thank you to the generous parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church who hosted a packaging event on November 21.
Students and families all came together and packaged an impressive total of nearly 88,000 nutritious meals to be distributed to those living in hunger in locations all around the world.
Thank you for donating your time and sharing our mission!
“Many hands make light work.” –John Heywood
2015 Student Challenge
“I love working with the kids,” Linbo stated, “Our goal is to pack 300,000 meals with these students by the end of this event.”
So, then what makes her experiences with Meals From the Heartland so memorable?
“I just had a colleague return from Africa,” Linbo stated, “He not only saw children eating meals that came from Meals from the Heartland, but he also noticed that for some, that was their only meal of the day. Knowing that we make an impact not just on the local community, but on the world as well is why I love volunteering with this organization.”
Tracy Linbo is currently serving as a board member for Meals From the Heartland. For more information regarding how to become involved with the organization or a packing event, don’t hesitate to contact Mike Frandsen at mike.frandsen@
Meals from the Heartland was honored to participate in a first ever hunger fight in a correctional facility. On Saturday September 26th, Fort Dodge Correctional Facility inmates teamed with the Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma to package over 69,000 mac and cheese meals. These meals will all be distributed in the Fort Dodge area through the Sertoma Back Pack Buddies program and through local food pantries.
Over 150 inmates participated in the event and also contributed $5,000 out of their prison earnings to buy ingredients. The top prison pay per hour is 45 cents. Many thanks to the Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma for their leadership in organizing and funding the remainder of this event!
We continue to be blown away by some of our youngest supporters! America’s U.S. Miss Iowa Tween queen, Paige Hilgerson (age 9), is using her passion and position to raise money, pack meals and spread awareness of local and global hunger. For years, Paige has packaged meals with her family, and her speech featuring Meals from the Heartland earned first place at the state pageant’s spokesmodel speech competition this past fall. So far, Paige has raised more than $100 dollars and handed out Meals from the Heartland M&M fundraising tubes at this summer’s national pageant competition, encouraging other state and regional queens to help. The tubes hold $14 in quarters, funding ingredients and supplies for 70 meals each!
Paige’s story is one of many that play an important role in changing the lives of food-insecure children and families in Iowa and around the world. And these efforts are at the heart of our Annual Hunger Fight $14 for 14 Challenge.
The $14 for 14 Challenge
The Annual Hunger Fight is just around the corner (August 26-29) and we’re asking all of our hunger fighters to take on a challenge like never before. Save and raise $14 a day for 14 days and you can provide nearly 1,000 of the anticipated 5 million meals packaged at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines! Car washes, bake sales, saving money from coffee drinks and restaurants are just a few of the many ways family, friends and teams can reach the goal together — read on for more creative fundraising ideas!
Sincere thanks to Paige (3rd runner up at nationals!) and all of our dedicated supporters. How will you take on this summer’s challenge? Share your $14 for 14 story with us!
Today, our new container arrived with Meals from the Heartland food for our new distribution center. There were some happy kiddos on the ground. And yes, that container on the truck will be loaded OFF that truck and set on our ground… somehow. Will inform you how it gets done later.
Do you want to help fill up the next truck? We are inviting students, parents, family and all community members, ages five and above, to volunteer.
You can also just donate helping us with preparation of packaging nutritious meals that will help alleviate suffering caused by hunger in our community and around the world!
Retired from the insurance world, Stu Shepard and wife Becky are core volunteers at Meals from the Heartland, helping with all facets of packaging events from set-up to tear-down and everything in between. One experience that Stu will always remember was an event at Merrill Middle School where Stu was inspired by the kids’ eagerness to help others in need.
“Watching the kids light up while serving amplified my desire to see this mission continue, grow and develop,” says Stu. Since then, he and Becky have helped at countless packaging events held at churches, schools, community centers and the annual event downtown.
The couple has also personally delivered our meals in South Africa while on a mission’s trip with Blessman Ministries, further increasing their passion to feed the hungry. On their trip, the couple helped take meals to a church where they were prepared and distributed to kids and families lined up for seemingly miles. For most of them, Stu and Becky learned, it was their only meal for the entire day.
“Seeing the need in those children’s eyes is life-changing,” he says. Witnessing firsthand the needs of the hungry and the compassion of Iowans, Stu wants to help create awareness of the mission throughout the nation. He is thrilled that Meals from the Heartland was recently honored as one of USA Today’s National Make a Difference Day Award recipients.
For Stu, no task is too small at Meals from the Heartland. Putting together boxes, washing dishes, checking people in, helping shift transitions and other behind-the-scenes tasks many packagers may not realize happens to make their event possible. Stu encourages others to take volunteering at Meals from the Heartland to the next level.
“Come early and stay late,” says Stu. “That’s my motto.”
If you would like to volunteer at Meals from the Heartland beyond packaging, please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always in need of dedicated volunteers like Stu and Becky!
Check out our new truck wrap. We would like to give out a special thank you to Sigler Companies of Ames for designing our new truck and Jon and Kevin Gyldenvand with Kenny & Gyl company for printing off the design and installing it on our truck.