Community Rallies to Feed Thousands

Posted at: 03/06/2013 9:47 PM
Updated at: 03/06/2013 10:42 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- A warm meal is something many of us take for granted every day.

But on Wednesday a group of volunteers in northern Iowa set out to make sure children around the world can experience the same advantages we enjoy every day.

Hundreds of volunteers filled the Waldorf College atrium throughout Wednesday afternoon to help give back to those in need.

Students and community members filled boxes upon boxes with nutritious meals to be shipped nearly half way around the world to the impoverished country of Tanzania.

“It's a lot of fun to know that something we're doing right here in Forest City, Iowa, is going to be reaching across the ocean and helping somebody that might be wondering where their meal's going to come from tonight,” said organizer Andy Buffington.

In this, the event's seventh year, volunteers raised over $17,000 which equates to roughly 70,000 meals for Tanzanian children.

Volunteers said they felt compelled to share their good fortune with others.  

“As Americans, we get meals every single day,” said student volunteer Ashlee Kirkpatrick. “So it's kind of nice to put together meals for kids that aren't as fortunate as we were."

Teams of volunteers worked in assembly lines to package the nonperishable meals.

But volunteers said the comradery made the time fly by.

“A bunch of my friends and I, we kind of make a game out of it,” Kirkpatrick said. “We kind of see how many meals we can get done in an hour, so it's kind of fun."

Waldorf partnered with local churches and other organizations to create an event that organizers said truly incorporated the entire community.

“There's literally dozens and dozens and dozens of different people and different groups wanting to help," Buffington said.

Still, organizers said what's important is not their community, but those communities in need.

“It makes me very thankful that we're able to do that, but it also makes me very humble for the fact that we come from so much,” Buffington said. “And because of that we generally try to give a lot more."

Each 25 cent meal has a shelf life of three years and contains 21 essential vitamins and minerals to help children grow.