‘Hunger Drive’ Hopes for Record Setting Event

DES MOINES, Iowa -- This will mark the ninth year Meals from the Heartland has held its Annual Hunger Fight and this year they want to set a record. The goal for this year's event is to make five million meals.

“Last year, we packed 4.2 million meals,” said Susan Bunz, executive director of Meals from the Heartland. “Our hope is that we can get over five million meals. I feel confident that we can get there.”

One of the reason Bunz is so confident is they’ve found a faster way to pack meals.

“We used to staff a table with 10 people. We have experimented back at our office to make things go faster. We found out that we only need seven people at each station,” said Bunz.

These meals go to food banks in Iowa, as well as locations throughout the United States and around the world.  One million meals went to food banks and pantries in Iowa.

Last year, they sent over 15 million meals to locations in Haiti, South Africa, Cambodia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Philippines, Burundi, Uganda, Mexico, Ghana and New Mexico.

Bunz said that 15,000 volunteers are needed to meet the goal.

Bunz say they were short of their goal last year but she is positive they will make it this year.

"Our packaging center is open year round so people don't have to come here, they can pack anytime," says Bunz." We are seeing really good number there and that helps."

There are still opportunities to help, here is a link if you are interested in volunteering.

"The thing is I tell people all the time is we all know what it is like to be hungry but few of know what it is to be hungry for days," says Bunz. "In just one two-hour shift you can make a big difference. It just takes time."

The event runs until 5 p.m. on Saturday at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines.