Kids Against Hunger is a charity that is run by volunteers and funded by donations. The central Texas satellite was started about two years ago and has hosted more than 50 different packaging events.
This is the second year UMHB faculty and staff have been a part of the process.
Lamar Eidson, a director at the organization, said, “We package meals for hungry children around the world. It is a special formula specifically designed for the malnourished children.”
Several faculty, staff and students visited the Kids Against Hunger packaging center. In two-hour shifts, they packaged 21,600 meals. The faculty appreciated being able to interact with each other in an informal atmosphere.
Associate Professor of Music Deborah Jones, who headed the faculty effort, said, “It is really a fun project. It is a neat thing for everyone to get together and work for a project that is worthwhile. As a faculty, we don’t get to see each other in those kinds of settings very often.”
For the faculty and staff who participated, the experience formed a sense of community.
Associate Professor and Librarian Anne Price said, “We work with other faculty all the time, but it is interesting to work with different faculty because it gives you a new perspective. It is a team-building experience to do this wonderful thing together.”
There are four directors of the Kids Against Hunger locations. They rely on churches and other volunteers. Each meal costs about 16 cents per bag, so each group donates enough money to pay for the food they will package.
Eidson said, “Most of the meals we package we send to Haiti. We send our meals through Hope for the Hungry. We donate our meals to them, and they in return pay for the transportation charges. … It reduces our cost from 24 cents a meal down to 16 cents.”
Kids Against Hunger was started in the 1990s by Minnesota businessman Richard Proudfit. It has expanded since then and has become a global organization.
Eidson said, “The organization is 20 years old. Last year as a whole organization we packaged 38 million meals, and we shipped them to 40 different countries. It is making a difference. There are over 6 million children who starve to death each year. While we can’t feed all of them, we are gaining on it anyway because it used to be 20 million back in the 1960s.”
Service is a crucial tenant of the university mission statement. The faculty, staff and students who volunteered exemplified the virtue .
Jones said, “It was a great experience, and I think it was very worthwhile. I’m glad that the faculty joined together to do it and saw that it was important enough to spend their time and money doing it.”