DES MOINES, Iowa -- This will mark the eighth year Meals from the Heartland has held its Annual Hunger Fight.
The goal for this year's event is to make five million meals. As of Friday morning, volunteers have packaged 1.8 million meals.
"It's good but it needs to be better," says Susan Bunz, executive director of Meals from the Heartland. "We really need to have all of our shifts full. We need more support from volunteers."
Bunz says there are multiple reasons on why they are short of the goal, such as a change in school start times and moving the date of the event.
"Normally, we can advertise to the schools but because of the push back of the start dates we can't get those kids," says Bunz. "We also know the first week of school can be crazy for parents, so that could be another reason."
This event has always been held on Labor Day weekend but it needed to be moved because of availability at Hy-Vee Hall.
"That is just another reason why the numbers are low here," says Bunz.
A little over 5,000 volunteers have helped in the two days so far and it is expected that over 12,000 will pitch in. Bunz said that 15,000 volunteers are needed to meet the goal.
Bunz knows that they will be short of that five million meal goal but is positive they will make it up in other places.
"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 if you are interested in volunteering.
"The thing I tell I 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.