Do you know about #GivingTuesday

Do you know about #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday offers a chance to join a social community focused on taking time to give thanks by giving to those in need.

This week we give thanks for friends, family, and the blessings allowed us through our faith and circumstance. While much of Thanksgiving is celebrated with tables of food and festivities, we also want to remind everyone of the need throughout our community and the World. That’s why, after Thanksgiving feasts, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, we encourage all of our friends and family to actively promote and give back to their favorite charities on #GivingTuesday.

givingtuesday opportunity to give back after thanksgiving

Click the image to go to the Meals from the Heartland #GivingTuesday profile!

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the holiday season, when many people – like you – are looking for a way to give back and make a difference in someone’s life.

While #GivingTuesday is a global movement, you don’t need to look any further than your own backyard to find those in need. Meals From the Heartland feeds children and families from desperate regions like Africa and Haiti as well as the homeless and families in need right here in the Midwest.

#GivingTuesday will help us fund supplies for meals in 2016!

Have you ever wondered where the food for the Meals from the Heartland packaging events comes from? Many believe it’s donated food, donated packaging, and that all Meals From the Heartland needs is your time. However, Meals From the Heartland is a non-profit organization and needs to purchase all of their supplies – food, packaging, and transportation – through generous donations given by individuals and businesses in their own community.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
– Winston Churchill

It’s a simple idea. Encourage your friends, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something MORE to those in need. Make your donations at, bring them or mail them to our office at 357 Lincoln Street, West Des Moines, Iowa 50265. Then use your connections through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets, using the hashtag #GivingTuesday, to encourage everyone you know to participate and support Meals From the Heartland.

Donate for #GivingTuesday Now

Ankeny Christian Academy Shows The Holiday Giving Spirit

Ankeny Christian Academy Shows The Holiday Giving Spirit

meals fromthe heartland, ankeny christian academy, feed the hungry, packaging eventThe 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, feed the hungry, ankeny christian academy, packaging eventKindergarten through 12th grade students participated and together packaged over 20,000 meals! The kids provided service with a smile, having fun giving back to their community!

 Thank you for your hard work and giving attitudes!

meals from the heartland, packaging event, ankeny christian academy, feed the hungry

170 Strong, John Deere Tops 60 Thousand Meals Packaged!

170 Strong, John Deere Tops 60 Thousand Meals Packaged!

John Deere Financial, packaging event, feed the hungry, meals from the heartlandMeals 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.

feeding the hungry, meals from the heartland, packaging event, john deere financial

Thank you John Deere Financial for your hard work, your generosity and your teamwork!

Parishioners Package 88,000 Meals!

Parishioners Package 88,000 Meals!

20151121_120702Thank 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 Heywood20151121_122538


2015 Student Challenge

A seasoned volunteer, Tracy Linbo first became involved with Meals from the Heartland after hearing about it through her current position with Pioneer.  Working for a company whose main goal is to feed the world, Linbo did not hesitate when the opportunity arose to assist with the Meals from the Heartland Student Challenge Event.  And, now, after 7 years, she is leading the event for the very first time.

“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

Prison Inmates Help Feed the Hungry

Correctional Facility

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!

Pageant Winner Inspires Others to Feed the World

WebsizedWe 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!

The meals have arrived!

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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!

Volunteer Spotlight: Stu and Becky Shepard


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.Stu Shepard (web-sized)

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 We are always in need of dedicated volunteers like Stu and Becky!

“Service to others knows NO disability”

Vision impaired clients, staff and volunteers from IRIS (Iowa Radio Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped) brought their giving spirit to our warehouse on Thursday to package.  Their motto “Service to others knows NO disability” was apparent as they rocked the packing floor!  Make sure to listen for the “Go”! For info on this amazing company visit


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