Since its inception in 2009, the Jasper County Kids Against Hunger Organization has provided close to 200,000 meals to feed hungry children both domestically and internationally.
“Our goal is to stamp out hunger in the third world countries, and really in any country that it exists in,” said Pastor Nancy Dick, a board member of the non-profit organization. “And that means we are feeding families, and that’s an important part of taking care of children.”
JCKAH has only been around a short time. The group didn’t formally incorporate as a non-profit until early last year but has managed to hold 10 packaging events and typically host three of them in a year. The group typically hosts one in the winter, the summer and the last one in the fall.
“People donate for us to purchase the food,” said Bill Bennett, treasurer of JCKAH. “We have our own equipment, which we basically set up like an assembly line. (Our volunteers) come and they package the food up into packages and put them into boxes, and then we ship it to a warehouse in Brighton, and they ship part of it to containers that go overseas.”
The JCKAH is a actually a “wing” unit of Kids Against Hunger Iowa, which in itself is a satellite unit of Kids Against Hunger based out of New Hope, Minn.
According to www.kidsagainsthungeria.com the Iowa teams are sending their food internationally to Albania, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua. They also provide food to Crisis Center in Iowa City and the Southeast Iowa Food Bank in Ottumwa. JCKAH has also done its part to make sure food is helping out locally and some of their donations have gone to the Salvation Army food here and few other places.
“Our organization works with missions and orphanages to make sure that this food is coming in on a regular basis and that it’s feeding people all year round,” Bennett said. “One of the important parts of that is that we make sure the food actually gets used for its purpose. You don’t want to just send it somewhere and hope it gets to people. They specifically work with established missions and orphanages in those countries to make sure that it’s getting to the kids.”
While the JCKAH board and membership is made up of all adults, people who volunteer to pack food come in all ages. At a recent packing session, they were joined by the Newton 4-H Club that goes by the name of World Changers. The World Changers brought children from ages 5 to 18 to help pack the food.
“The desire to help other people,” is what 16-year-old Briana Kline said on why she came out to help. “Our club is called the World Changers, and we want to encourage and help.”
Each box they fill contains 36 bags of food. Each bag is capable of making six meals and consists of rice, dehydrated vegetables, soy mix and of a corn meal like mixture of 23 vitamins and minerals.
“It seemed like a good idea to help people,” said 13-year-old Michael Frost. “Our 4-H Club voted on it. We thought it was an interesting thing. We can do something with our hands to help people and not just give money.”
A lot of local organizations have participated in the packing sessions and most people seem to truly believe in the cause and the positivity it brings.
“Don Fields of Liberty Ministries is who got us going,” said JCKAH President Ken Ahntholz. “(Fields) said, ‘This is the thing that begins to transform communities. Newton used to be known for Maytag. It’s possible that this community’s new identity could be Kids Against Hunger.’”
The next packing event for JCKAH is scheduled for Feb. 16 at St. Luke United Methodist Church. For further information about donating or registering, contact Bill Bennett at email@example.com.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.