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FAIR FOOD: Packing Meals For Hungry

Posted on: 4:47 pm, August 8, 2013, by , updated on: 05:52pm, August 8, 2013

Fair goers are enjoying more than just food on a stick this year. Volunteers are making meals in a bag.

There’s no shortage of food at the Iowa State Fair. A visitor declares, “These are the best cinnamon rolls in town.”

But on opening day, people are packing something you usually don’t find on the grounds. Volunteer Tracey Wilkerson says, “There is soy and there is rice and vegetables.” 1,500 volunteers formed teams of ten to scoop, seal and pack.

Will Donaghy says, “They’re making the meals and I’m packing them down.” Volunteers spend an hour in a hallway of the Varied Industries Building. They’re packing 250,000 bags of food for Meals from the Heartland. Director Dave Bradley says, “The meals are going to Haiti. The Convoy of Hope truck is parked right outside the dock and will be loading after we finish.”

Even if fair goers didn’t sign up to volunteer, visitors could still walk by and see how the meals are made. And, the project still needs help. Iowa State Fair Director Gary Slater says, “You can still donate, and donate on the spot.”

Each meal costs twenty cents. The Iowa State Fair is more than halfway to its goal of raising $50,000 for this packaging day.

The Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Food and Family Project and Growmark helped make it possible, along with all the fair goers learning an important lesson about food. Wilkerson says, “We take it for granted how easily we have food available to us, especially good tasting food and healthy food.”

Donaghy says, “It’s sad that we have to do this for world hunger, but it’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad we’re doing it.”

The Iowa State Fair is working with 5,000 fairs to help feed the hungry around the world. If you’d like to help, next Tuesday you can bring a canned food item to the fair. You’ll also get $3 off your admission.

Click here for more information about donating to the fair’s meal packing project

Click here if you’d like to sign up to volunteer at Meals from the Heartland’s signature event beginning on August 28th.