Children from across Hamilton County are up for a big challenge with this year’s Kids Against Hunger Pack-a-Thon. In past years, kids have been asked to put together 200,000 bundles of food to fight hunger at home and abroad. This year, the goal is a half a million.
“It’s a big undertaking for us this year, especially since we have grown so much since 2007,” said Angie Mollenkopf, director of development and the program director for Kids Against Hunger in Indiana. “We are here to really teach kids about hunger and offer them a hands on learning experience.”
Kids Against Hunger is a national nonprofit organization that reached Indiana in 2007 when Carmel residents Dan and Nancy Hintz decided it was an opportunity to serve the community. The Indiana chapter has distributed 2.5 million meals since 2007, 1.3 million of which were from 2010, and operates year round through the Noblesville Red Cross.
This year’s Pack-a-Thon is scheduled on April 16, which is Global Youth Service Day. In conjunction with area schools and organizations, Kids Against Hunger hopes to package 500,000 meals for Gleaners and the Midwest food bank, and also send packages to orphanages and schools in Africa and Haiti. The mayors of Westfield, Carmel and Noblesville have all declared April 16 to be Kids Against Hunger Day to promote the Pack-a-Thon.
Each meal packaged is a carefully researched and developed series of ingredients to support immune systems and get vitamins to those who are malnourished. Mollenkopf described the “medicinal” blend of soy, dehydrated vegetables, rice and the “secret scoop” of vitamins as crucial to support those receiving the meals.
This year’s event seeks not just to feed the hungry, but also educate students about hunger and malnutrition around the area and world, as youth from Indianapolis and Hamilton County will be together at the Pack-a-Thon.
“This urban and suburban youth working together will be a chance to kind of develop a fellowship between them,” said Mollenkopf. “This is a community-wide event to raise awareness and get kids working alongside kids and with adults too.”
To register for Kids Against Hunger’s Pack-a-Thon on April 16, visit www.kidsagainsthunger.net