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Sauk Prairie food packing event yields nearly 290K meals for hungry people around the world

posted Nov 1, 2017, 5:27 AM by John Ramthun   [ updated Nov 1, 2017, 5:28 AM ]
With help from more than 1,200 volunteers, Sauk Prairie Against Hunger will provide nearly 290,000 meals to starving children around the world.

During its annual food pack event, held Oct. 26-28 at Grand Avenue Elementary School, families, youth, community members and people from all walks of life joined together to make the sixth annual Sauk Prairie Against Hunger Food Pack Event a success. The meals will mean 788 kids will not go hungry for the next year, according to John Ramthun of local service organization 6:8.

Each year the group aims to fill one semi-truck with food, which is the most efficient way for the food to be shipped. “We met that goal and surpassed it,” Ramthun said.

Jackie Bascom, co-chair of Sauk Prairie Against Hunger’s core team, said the event went well.

“As we are preparing our volunteer roster each year we see those slots slowly fill up,” Bascom said. “As we get to the event, many people stop by or stay for a second shift. We had no trouble packing all the meals and beyond.”

The non-profit group Feed My Starving Children delivers ingredients such as rice, soy, vegetables to the Sauk Prairie site, which has been held at Grand Avenue Elementary School.

“All the food is sourced from the U.S. is my understanding,” Bascom said. “We pay 22 cents per meal for the ingredients, which is why we do the fundraising. All we need to do then is provide a facility and volunteers.”

Another challenge at the food pack event has businesses and organizations competing to build things using canned goods and boxed food, called Canned Creations. All the food used to make the creations is donated to the Sauk Prairie Food Pantry.

Ramthun said last year the group introduced a new challenge to the event, called Feed One More.

“It challenges people to see what they can do to feed one more person,” Ramthun said. “For 22 cents you can feed someone for a day. Multiply that times 365 days and that’s about $80, or $6.68 per month.”

Bascom said it’s a great opportunity for families to think about what they could do without to feed another starving child.

“It could be that daily cup of coffee they buy or not going out to eat once a month so you can sponsor a child for a year,” Bascom said. “You aren’t going to get a picture of that child because they could be in Haiti, Uganda or Argentena. But Feed My Starving Children tells us when we are able to sustainably provide food for a child for a year, they have a much better success rate for surviving and thriving.”

Ramthun said the response to the initiative this year was overwhelmingly positive. “We have 120 children being sponsored for the 2018 year,” Ramthun said. “That’s a huge response.”

Bascom said despite the huge success the event has had over the past six years, there isn’t a plan to expand it. “As a team we kick around a lot of ideas,” Bascom said. “We did pack 350,000 meals one year but felt it was bit of a stretch for that size facility. We do talk about how we’d love to have a million meal pack, but that would require serious fundraising and cause facility challenges. Right now we feel the current goal is our sweet spot and we’ve kind of settled into it.”