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Hunger in Iowa on the Rise

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Hunger in Iowa on the Rise

As requests for emergency food assistance continue to rise across the nation, our sense of urgency to help the hungry is being cranked up. According to a report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness, the need for food assistance has increased by 20 percent in Des Moines, the second-highest increase in the country. The report, along with other hunger and homelessness figures are detailed in this Des Moines Register article.

This is why we continue to roll up our sleeves and get to work. As you may know, we recently surpassed our 2014 goal to package 10 million meals. The impact this makes on our community and around the world is huge. Through local distribution partners like the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), the Food Bank of Iowa and others, we continue to provide hope to children and families in Iowa by providing nutrition they can rely on. And our international distribution partner, Convoy of Hope, helps deliver meals to the starving around the United States and across the world. But 10 million meals is not enough for the growing demand. In 2015, our goal is to package 15 million meals and beyond!

At Meals from the Heartland, we believe no child should go to bed hungry. But we can’t do it alone. Will you join us in the fight against hunger? Learn more about ways to volunteer or donate today!

Kick off the giving season with Giving Tuesday!

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The Thanksgiving season is upon us, which for many means celebrations chock-full of time with family, friends and, of course, shopping for those loved ones. But what happens after we give thanks on Thursday, flock to stores on Black Friday and surf through the best deals on Cyber Monday? It’s the perfect time to give back in honor of all this year’s blessings while finishing your holiday gift “to-do” list!

You can participate in #GivingTuesday and support Meals from the Heartland in several ways, including purchasing our hunger-fighting T-shirts as gifts for family and friends.

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Click here for the red T-shirt, here for gray and here for blue.

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And for those hard-to-shop-for people in your life, you can give a Hunger Fighter Sponsorship Card. These cards are available for $25 (funds 125 meals), $50 (funds 250 meals) or $100 (funds 500 meals) and can be presented as a gift in a loved one’s honor that provides meals for hungry children and families in Iowa, around the nation and across the world.

What are we thankful for this year? Our many committed and generous donors and volunteers that keep the fight against hunger going strong. We’re thankful for YOU.

Help Mike and Joel with the dishes!

DISHES

Help Mike and Joel with the dishes!

We need help cleaning up from last week’s Annual Hunger Fight.
Register online or just show up at our new center at 357 Lincoln Street in West Des Moines.

Feeding the world, one cupcake at a time.

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We’re grateful to Scatch Cupcakery in West Des Moines for committing a portion of their profits to Meals from the Heartland. On August 1, 2014, every “Oh Happy Day” cupcake sold is $1.00 toward the essential cost it takes to package nutritious meals for hungry children and families in Iowa and around the world.

Every meal we package costs 20 cents. That means with just one cupcake, you are giving five people one less reason to wonder if they’ll eat that day. Not a bad way to help end the unnecessary suffering caused by local and global hunger.

To participate in this “oh, happy day” stop by Scratch Cupcakery on August 1, 2014, at the following location:

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7450 Bridgewood Blvd Suite 215
West Des Moines, Iowa

Not a cupcake fan? We’ll still gladly accept your dollar(s) to help cover the costs of the millions of meals that are packaged each year! Learn how to donatehere.

 

The 40 Millionth Meal’s Trip to Uganda.

The 40 Millionth Meal’s Trip to Uganda

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The Grimes United Methodist Church’s first stop in Uganda was the Watoto Church in Kampala. Watoto is the organization they are supporting with the mission trip. You can read all about their travels on their blog at: www.gumctouganda2014.wordpress.com

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After the Watoto Church visit, the crew went to Noah’s Ark, a home and education center for abandoned children, where they helped unpack boxes of Meals from the Heartland rice and soy meals, including the 216 meals that were packed in a suitcase.

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The leaders of Noah’s Ark expressed their appreciation for the meals specifically because the kids (and the adults) actually like them! He explained that some other efforts to send food, though well-intentioned, do not taste as good to the locals as these.

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Nothing from the Meals from the Heartland packages goes to waste at Noah’s Ark. The team spotted boxes throughout the grounds, used as dressers for clothing, to keep bed mattresses warm and dry, to hold charcoal for fires and many other creative uses.

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The group was taken to the kitchen to show what was cooking in the large kitchen kettles over open flames: lots and lots of meals from Meals from the Heartland! And at just 20 cents per meal, the impact this food has on alleviating hunger in this community is incredible.

Fighting world hunger with the Evelyn K. Davis Summer Youth Experience Program.

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We had the privilege of hosting around 44 youth from the Evelyn K. Davis Summer Youth Experience Program. These enthusiastic volunteers packaged 9,936 rice and soy meals, washed dishes, labeled bags, cleaned scales and more. A job well done, these students truly are future leaders. Hope we get to see them again soon!

 

40th millionth meal sent to Mukono, Uganda

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We recently packaged our 40 millionth meal thanks to all who have dedicated time and resources over the last six years. To celebrate, we sent that milestone meal on a trip around the world. Stay tuned to hear about its travels with @GrimesUMC!

 

Community of Christ Senior High Summer Camp.

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The spirit of service was evident with this group of around 80 student leaders at the Community of Christ Senior High Summer Camp near Guthrie Center. This was their third Hunger Fight, and they got right down to business and packaged 20,088 rice and soy meals! Happy to see our future leaders coming together to make a difference.

A Mini Mission with a Mighty Impact.

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A Mini Mission with a Mighty Impact.

On June 20, we welcomed a group of 5th and 6th graders from First United Methodist Church in Ankeny to the Patty Cownie Center to package meals as one of their service projects during a week full of mini missions trips around the Des Moines metro.

In just a few hours, 50 volunteers packaged 4,320 meals. And since every single meal packaged is one more hungry belly fed, there’s nothing mini about the way they gave their time and energy that day.

Is your youth group looking for a way to serve? We love giving the next generation of leaders hands-on experience with caring about the world around them. Get in touch with us today to set up a time for your youth to package meals at contact@mealsfromtheheartland.org.

Mac and Cheese Week

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Mac and Cheese Week
We have been packaging mac and cheese meals this week at our new packaging center to help build up the inventory of these meals in area food pantries.  A group of 40 volunteers packaged 6,912 meals on June 19th during one of our open packaging events.  We even had a couple of youth from California volunteer.
Give back this summer.  Bring your family and friends along to one of our packaging center events.  Sign up to package meals here.
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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 10,000,000 meals and are 100% of our goal!!!