|Above photos: Members cooperate to package meals.|
Five Iowa lodges coordinated their Join Hands Day efforts in the fight against hunger. On May 15, Cedar No. 7 (Cedar Rapids), Heritage No. 13 (Cedar Rapids), Four Hundred No. 400 (Swisher), Hawkeye No. 423 (Cedar Rapids), Oxford No. 427 (Oxford), and a church youth group gathered in the Western Fraternal Life Annex to package 4,000 meals for Kids Against Hunger.
Member Larry Luther, No. 423, was inspired by Western's fraternal project at the Convention in 2015. He talked to a Kids Against Hunger representative about organizing the same event for his lodge. Shortly after, he and others decided to get area lodges involved and called or e-mailed to coordinate the event as a Join Hands Day project.
Kids Against Hunger provides mobile outreach for meal-packing events. Each lodge gave $200 to buy the supplies, which are dry rice, vitamin-fortified and protein-rich soy, vegetables, KAH food vitamins (which contain 21 essential vitamins and minerals), and packaging which will help preserve it for a long period of time. With these supplies, the lodges formed assembly lines of approximately ten people who measured individual ingredient product into the bag, and passed it down the line until it was weighed for accuracy and the bag was sealed.
The bags were then placed in a box and the Kids Against Hunger coordinator arranged to ship it where it was needed. Each bag will provide a meal for six children when it's boiled.
10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths.
- The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2007
Larry Luther commented, "I thought we had a great turn out. It is a project that young and old can do, and it does a lot of good." He added, "I think everyone enjoyed it. It's a chance for all the lodges to work together and renew friendships. Members from other lodges mention we should do it again next year and perhaps double production."
"We felt we were really doing something. One of our members was given a chair and was still able to work, it was great someone with a disability can actively participate," said No. 427 Secretary Pauline McAreavy. "It's a very good project, and we would do it again and might have more participation."
Approximately 50 people were able to package 4,000 meals this year. These meals go a long way toward fighting undernutrition, which UNICEF has stated to cause 53% of deaths in children under age five in developing countries.*
"It is a project that young and old can do, and it does a lot of good."
Larry Luther, No. 423
"What surprised me the most was the content of the bags we packed. Just 390 grams contains six servings and all the necessary nutrients for growing children," No. 7 President Jason Logan commented. "This was a great project I have had the privilege of being a part of twice now. It brought several lodges together and packed 4,000 meals in under an hour."
Logan added, "The organization makes it easy for children and older members to participate. Kylie, a seven year old member of the lodge, was able to take an active part measuring the protein powder out for the food bags. There are positions that allow members to sit more comfortably, so those that are unable to be on their feet for long periods of time can also participate. I would absolutely encourage any lodge interested to look into this and maybe make a multi-lodge event out of it. The more hands you have the more meals you can pack! A big thanks to Larry Luther for setting this up."
*Source: Under five deaths by cause, UNICEF, 2006
What is Kids Against Hunger?
|Children in Haiti eating the meals provided by Kids Against Hunger. Photo courtesy of Kids Against Hunger.|
Kids Against Hunger packages nutritious, life-saving meals for starving malnourished children and their families in developing countries and the United States. The goal of the organization is for its meals to provide a stable nutritional base from which recipient families can move their families from starvation to self-sufficiency.
Kids Against Hunger believes that the best way to engage the largest number of people is through a decentralized, locally-based network of food packaging satellites that are active in their community. This model engages and empowers people to realize they can make a difference. This expands its food packaging capacity and volunteer involvement.
Since its launch, Kids Against Hunger has provided over 1 billion meals for children and their families in more than 60 countries through the efforts of hundreds of thousands of volunteers.
How Can I Host an Event?
Hosting an event with Kids Against Hunger is simple. The mobile team will come to you. For more information about logistics, volunteers, costs, and other questions you may have, please contact the location(s) nearest you to find out their specific guidelines and pricing for hosting an event. The website is www.kidsagainsthunger.org.
Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.