Sign up to help with Meals from the Heartland

The Meals from the Heartland informational booth, along with Pam Carver, was at Sweet Corn Days.

The Meals from the Heartland informational booth, along with Pam Carver, was at Sweet Corn Days.

By Sara Stromseth-Troy
TPD Staff
CRESCO – A new humanitarian initiative, Meals from the Heartland, will take place during the 2014 Norman Borlaug Fest, which kicks off Friday, Sept. 19 at the Norman Borlaug Farm, located southwest of Cresco.
The event packages food for the hungry in commemoration of Dr. Borlaug’s 100 years. The vision of the initiative is to bring people of Northeast Iowa together to continue Dr. Norman Borlaug’s legacy to feed the hungry.
Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest will begin with over 250 fifth graders from area schools. The students will have the first opportunity at packaging the meals. The main packaging event will be held Sunday, Sept. 21st beginning at 8 a.m. at the Crestwood High School gymnasium. Happening at the same time and same place is the Crestwood vocal music’s annual omelet breakfast. Those interested in attending are asked to come package meals and then have breakfast.
Cresco’s Pam Carver and Vickie Grube are among those involved in Meals from the Heartland.
Carver said, “We will be partnering with Meals from the Heartland, a solid organization based in West Des Moines, Iowa that does mobile food packaging events. Meals From The Heartland is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and their mission is: Empowering people to save the starving. Meals are distributed to food banks throughout Iowa and globally.”
Grube said, “In the United States, one in five children live in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where their next meal will come from. In Howard County, the overall rate is 11.4 percent and for child food insecurity is 17.4 percent, and 15.9 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition.”
She added that these statistics were taken from Hunger in America through studies of 2012, with new statistics available this summer, and can be found at
Grube continued, “Originally, the goal was to package 50,000 meals. An idea
came to mind: ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to package 100,000 meals in honor of Norman Borlaug’s 100th birthday?’ So, we will be packaging 100,000 meals, and 50,000 meals will be distributed to food banks locally and throughout Iowa. The remaining 50,000 meals will be distributed globally. The meals chosen are macaroni and cheese at a cost of 25 cents per meal and rice/soy at a cost of 20 cents per meal. Each package will hold the nutritional balanced ingredients for six meals.”
Carver and Grube noted that, due to the generosity of many people, funding has been secured to cover the costs. Fund raising began with a challenge to area schools. Eileen and Keith Denner, natives of Protivin and New Hampton, offered to match every dollar raised by the schools up to $5000. In addition, the Lynch Foundation pledged to match 50,000 meals if funding for 50,000 was secured. Meals from the The Lynch Foundation pledge would remain in Iowa.
Currently, many volunteers are needed to pack the meals.
Carver said, “Your families, friends, co-workers could package during this unforgettable experience as they volunteer to serve the hungry of the world. The Meals from the Heartland Food Packaging Event is a hands-on opportunity for the community to roll up their sleeves and feed the hungry.Children and adults of all ages find great meaning and also have a fun time assembling meals of rice and soy and macaroni and cheese.
Participants are deeply changed by spending just a hour or two hours to help feed the hungry and starving people.”
Working in teams of 10, one to two hour shifts, teams will package, weigh and box meals. Sign-up for team packaging is currently under way. If you would like to be on a team, send an email to Pam Carver at with contact name, phone number and email address.
Carver said, “We have received much excitement for this new and exciting event that captures the heart of Dr. Borlaug’s work and life. We believe that this event will help bring the community in Northeast Iowa together in a very special way.”


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