FAIRMONT - Last year, Martin County Kids Against Hunger raised $18,000, enough money to pack more than 94,000 meals for starving children.
Kids Against Hunger is a Minnesota-based organization that packages and ships nutritious meals to malnourished children in the United States and around the world.
The nonprofit has a regional packaging division in Mankato, which is where local families learned about the organization and decided to bring the effort closer to home.
"We raised all the money to purchase the ingredients and pack the meals," said Connie Anthony, who is helping organize a second Kids Against Hunger event set for Feb. 20, 2010.
"You fed a child for a day if you gave just one quarter," she said. "That's what we think is so cool about this. Anyone, regardless of their economic status, can help make a difference."
This time around, local volunteers are hoping to reach a lofty goal of $25,000. At 25 cents per packet, $25,000 adds up to 120,000 meals.
The vitamin-enriched meals are rice-based with soy protein, dried vegetables and chicken flavoring. No actual meat or dairy products are used, making the meals acceptable for consumption worldwide.
"It's sort of like bland Riceroni," Anthony said. "... It is a complete nutritious meal in one serving."
A team approach was an effective fund-raising method last year and will be tried again. Teams of 10 will work to raise money, with a goal of $40 per person - $400 for the team as a whole. That money goes toward food, shipping and any other overhead costs that accrue when volunteers gather to pack the meals.
Fund-raising for the second local Kids Against Hunger event in Fairmont is already under way, with Knights of Columbus hosting a benefit brunch 9-11:30 a.m. Nov. 8. at the KC Hall.
"It's a worthwhile program because there are children involved," said Red Holland, a trustee with the service club.
At the 2009 event, Martin County Kids Against Hunger surpassed their goal of $10,000. They were even able to purchase food for additional meals with the money they saved when Wal-Mart paid for shipping and St. John Vianney school offered the use of their building, where 340 people helped pack meals.
"A portion stayed in Fairmont and went to the Salvation Army and churches," Anthony said. "... The majority went to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where it was very well received, and some went to Haiti."
For more information on Kids Against Hunger, visit www.feedingchildren.org, or to find out more about forming or joining a team, call Michelle Hernes at (507) 238-9627.