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Sunrise Rotary approaching ‘millionth meal’ for Food for Kidz

Photo by Karin Elton This Food for Kidz package is an example of the rice, soy flour and dried vegetable ingredients that middle schoolers will be assembling Friday morning with the help of Sunrise Rotary members. The packages go to hungry children locally and globally.

MARSHALL — Imagine the feeling of helping alleviate hunger locally and worldwide in the form of a million meals.

The Marshall Sunrise Rotary and Marshall middle schoolers can say that as of Friday.

“We will be making our millionth meal,” said Rotarian Larry Schiavo.

“That was our goal when we started in 2009,” said Brian West. “To be of service locally and around the world. Doing what’s right. Making a difference in people’s lives.”

“We’re really proud of hitting the mark,” said Christian Becker.

The Sunrise Rotary has been sponsoring Food For Kidz for more than 10 years.

Food For Kidz is a charity that enables organizations to package and distribute nutritious meals to hungry children and their families where crisis has struck and there is an immediate need. According to Food For Kidz, natural disasters such as flood and drought are responsible for undernourishment and hunger, along with war, poverty and lack of infrastructure.

The nonprofit organization was formed in 2003 in Stewart, Minnesota, and expanded to help children in the United States and around the world in places such as Afghanistan, Haiti and Malawi.

Last year, the people from Stewart told me almost the entire batch went to Haiti because of the earthquake,” said Becker.

Meals go to local food pantries as well.

“We give oatmeal packages to the local food shelf,” said Eric Luther. “They said they have a need for breakfast items.”

Middle school children will package a soy product, dried vegetables and rice with the help of Sunrise Rotary volunteers Friday morning. Teachers and high school students help as well.

“It’s very rewarding to see the smiles on the students’ faces when they realize they are helping other children,” Becker said.

Students who have graduated and go on mission work in other countries see the boxes, said John DeCramer.

“One sent a photo to Middle School principal Mary Kay Thomas,” he said.

Luther said the Marshall Middle School Food For Kidz packaging event is one of the biggest around.

“In a half day we do about 95,000 meals,” he said. True Light Christian School sends around 30 students and teachers to help as well.

The middle schoolers do fund-raising year round such as Cold Stone ice cream sales and Little Debbie treat sales. The office had a chili and soup cook-off last week. They try to collect about $5,000, which goes toward purchasing the ingredients.

“In addition, individuals and businesses donate money,” Luther said. “Hy-Vee has a loose change container.”

The Sunrise Rotary has fund-raisers throughout the year such as selling roses in October, the Sounds of Summer pancake breakfast and “we sell burgers at the Shades of the Past,” said DeCramer.

For more information about Food For Kidz, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFTxuDcOyjY

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