SYCAMORE – Packing 1.2 million meals for starving children in one weekend would be a feather in anyone’s cap, but the people at Make a Difference DeKalb County want to do better this year at their mobile meal pack event.
The group, which works with the national organization Feed My Starving Children, will host the event this weekend and still is looking for donations.
“It was created as an opportunity for our local community to make a difference,” said Heidi Wright, the Make a Difference board’s vice president. “The community has such a generous heart about this event.”
Wright said she expects about 5,000 volunteers to attend the event. Last year, volunteers made 1.2 million meals, and Wright said the goal each year is to make a little more.
“No one wants to go backwards,” she said.
During the first event eight years ago, volunteers packed less than 1 million meals. The first event was held at Cornerstone Christian Academy. Tim Suter of The Suter Co. attended that event, and Wright said he was so impressed that he offered the company’s facility at 1015 Bethany Road for subsequent events.
The meals are put together for starving children, Wright said, not for hungry children. They’re designed to be nutritionally dense and vegetarian so as to be accepted in cultures around the world. They contain rice, soy for protein, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin and mineral mix.
“It’s amazing to see the before and after transformation on a child who’s been eating the meals for 30 days,” Wright said.
Each meal costs 22 cent because Feed My Starving Children buys the elements to the packaged meals in bulk.
Wright said Feed My Starving Children has several permanent sites where it packs the meals, but it relies on the mobile packing events in order to grow.
“We’re one of the largest mobile pack events in the country,” Wright said.
For those who want to get involved, Wright said to check the Make a Difference DeKalb County website to sign up for open volunteer slots, although most of the spaces already are filled. The meal packing takes place Thursday through Sunday.
Monetary donations, which are necessary to buy food for the packs, can be made at the event or by calling Wright at 815-761-2341.