DES MOINES, Iowa - When all is said and done this Saturday, Meals from the Heartland hopes to feed more than five million people this year. The 7th annual Hunger Fight is poised to take off Wednesday, with over 15,000 volunteers signed up to package meals.
"This is such a positive experience, it's like a big volunteer party," said Dave Bradley, executive director of Meals From the Heartland. "When there's over 1,000 people out here at one time, working in 112 different teams, packaging meals, keeping the meal-count going, having music at night. It's just a very fun experience."
Last year, the organization packaged more than five million meals. This year, Bradley says they hope to beat their own record.
The meals go out to those struggling with hunger here in Iowa, as well as overseas to third-world countries.
"In a school setting, these kids would not eat and in many cases, they wouldn't go to school," he said, referring to third-world countries and their need for food. "You can't learn on an empty stomach. The only way to long-term change the dynamics of some countries around the world is through education."
While 15,000 volunteers sounds like a lot, Bradley said they're still in need of more throughout the week. To sign up, visit www.mealsfromtheheartland.org. The event goes from Wednesday until Saturday at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines.