SLEEPY EYE - With a few hours of work and hundreds of helping hands, the 10th annual Food for Kidz food pack in Sleepy Eye provided some 70,000 meals for hungry mouths halfway around the world.
Working in two shifts at the Eagles Orchid Inn in Sleepy Eye, more than 230 people manned 10 packing lines. They filled plastic pouches with protein, rice, freeze-dried vegetables and seasonings. Each small bag, when cooked, will provide a nutritious meal for six people.
This year's food is being sent through Food for Kidz in Stewart to the typhoon-ravaged area of the Philippines where thousands are in need of basic food and shelter.
Staff photo by Kevin Sweeney
The Eagles Orchid Inn in Sleepy Eye was buzzing with happy voices as crowds of volunteers packed food for Food for Kidz Sunday.
Rick Mages has helped organize the drive for 10 years. He works for Form-A-Feed in Stewart, where a Food for Kidz chapter was organized in 2004. He and his family got the idea of organizing a food pack for the organization.
"We were one of the first packs they did," said Mages.
The project has grown into a community project and beyond, said Mages. Sleepy Eye Public and St. Mary's schools work together on it, along with 4-H and FFA organizations in the community and all the churches in the area. Packers come from Leavenworth, Comfrey, Springfield, Morgan, New Ulm and Lafayette.
Over the years, the event has packaged 639,350 meals and raised nearly $75,000. This year's goal is to raise $10,000 or more, enough to pay for 70,000 meals.
Mages said the pack is usually held a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.
"It's a good time to remind us to be thankful for what we have, and to help those who are in need," he said.
The pack was held in two shifts, one from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., the other from 1 to 3 p.m. A total of 116 people registered for the first pack, and 117 signed in for the second shift. Several people stayed from the first shift to work the second as well.