A sea of pink-shirted middle and high schoolers equipped with hairnets packed into the Highland gymnasium, working shifts in mini assembly lines towards a goal of 40,000 packaged meals in …
A sea of pink-shirted middle and high schoolers equipped with hairnets packed into the Highland gymnasium, working shifts in mini assembly lines towards a goal of 40,000 packaged meals in collaboration with Meals from the Heartland, an act of volunteerism to help feed hungry children.
Last year, Highland managed to package 30,000 meals for those in need. This year, the Highland student body wanted to up their game. They worked throughout the school day on Friday, Mar. 31, to reach their goal.
They had to raise $6,000 to do this, a task which shows dedication from the Highland student body and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter. The school hopes to continue to increase production in following years.
“My kids are competitive, and they heard some other schools that are in our area did [35,000] or 30,000 and we were like, let’s do more,” FFA teacher and advisor Gina Trower said.
According to Georgie Filber, representative with Meals from the Heartland, volunteers increasing their production from year to year is a common trend. Their first year is a trial and their second year they want to do more. Filber loves this about the volunteers.
“One of the things I love is just mobilizing students and people all over the great state of Iowa. I think we get to work with the best schools, businesses, and churches. When they provide the funding, it just says a lot about them,” Filber said. “Volunteerism in general is just a healthy thing. Like mentally, physically, [all] of those issues we see in society, and volunteerism is a powerful tool to kind of combat some of that.”
Highland’s increased production warranted two additional production tables to accommodate more students at once, with ten tables in total. The students scooped grains, soy, vegetables, and seasonings into a bag. Then, another student would seal the bag, before it was packaged neatly into a box, taped up and ready to ship away.
Each bag can be heated with water to create a tasty and healthy meal. Forty-thousand meals can feed close to 155 kids for the whole year. Most kids fed with Meals from the Heartland get the food five days a week on a school lunch-based program.
It is an important and fun experience for the students. Working in shifts, the whole school has the opportunity to package some meals. They worked throughout the whole school day and met new classmates along the way as a moment to come together.
“The kids are enjoying it,” Trower said. “We had sixth graders in with seniors and it’s all intermingled, kids are getting to know each other. [They] see each other in the hallway, they don’t know each other, and so that’s why we do this.”
The meals were described as a “healthier version of ramen with more protein and vegetables” by FFA officer and secretary Olivia Edwards (sophomore).
As an officer, Edwards was monitoring the work being done and helping out when needed. She felt the event was very important.
“I think this is important, not only because we’re helping feed kids, but we are also giving all of our high school students and middle school [students] a chance to [see] how it is to help people and give them [good] opportunities [to volunteer],” Edwards said.
Meals from the Heartland started back in 2008, sending out over 200 million meals to 39 countries like South Africa, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Ukraine, and more. Meals from the Heartland’s presence is widespread. The work the Highland students did will help impact lives.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here