Emmetsburg volunteers will fight hunger

EMMETSBURG – If everything goes as planned, volunteers will have packed 130,000 meals at the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds by the end of the day today for the nonprofit Then Feed Just One program.

Lana Williams, a member of this year’s planning committee, said that last year the event was able to package 119,000 meals.

She would like to better that this year

Putting that many meals together from a variety of dry ingredients requires a lot of volunteers working in 90-minute shifts.

More are always welcome.

“You can show up and volunteer,” she said.

In addition to their labor, each volunteer donates $30.

“That covers all the expenses of packaging, shipping and the food itself.” Williams said.

Each meal contains dried chicken flavoring, rice, vitamins and mineral supplements and dehydrated vegetables. The ingredients are combined by the volunteers.

“It’s scientifically designed to fight malnutrition,” Williams said.

The meals are destined for either Haiti, Guatemala or Honduras.

“Last year they went to Honduras,” Williams said. “They will most likely go there again.”

At their destination, the meals are cooked into a chicken-flavored casserole and are usually combined with locally available ingredients such as beans and preferred spices, she said.

“They mix it with the local cuisine.”

There are three shifts available for volunteers to work: 8:30 to 10 a.m., 10 to 11:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m to 1 p.m. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Williams asks that volunteers arrive 20 minutes prior to the start of their chosen shift.

She said that those who help can expect a great experience.

“It’s an absolute joy just to be able to give,” she said.