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Monday, May 2, 2016

Hunger: Students prepare meals for nearly 45,000

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

St. Mary's students worked in shifts Wednesday to prepare meal packages for the Then Feed Just One project, from the youngest to the oldest students. They were joined in the afternoon by students from Sioux Central. Here Sioux Central students work with young St. Mary's students. / Lorri Glawe
St. Mary's K-12 students participated in an all-day event to package individual meals for the Then Feed Just One program to help feed the world's hungry. The organization is headed by LeMars resident and 1978 St. Mary's High School alumnus Al Vonnahme who brought the materials to the school this week.

The students raised money to purchase the ingredients for the meals and then worked all day in shifts to package 44,712 meals for the program.

Each meal, packaged in a bag, contains rice and a dried vegetable mixture with chicken flavoring and vitamin powder. One bag can feed six people and costs just 16 cents a meal. The name, Then Just Feed One, was created from words of Mother Teresa: "If you can't feed 100 people, then feed just one."

Sioux Central speech students appropriately presented their choral reading piece, "Hunger" at the Then Just Feed One event. The choral reading group received top scores at district and state contests and were selected as an All-State Festival group. Left to right - Michelle Stoner, Liz Oliverson, Kayla Strand, Shelby Blomberg, Megan Fassler, Callie Buske, Katie Sievers, Jasmine Nehring, Danielle Marcoux, Shena Geisinger, Savannah Krause. Sitting is Deb Hoffman. / Lorri Glawe
The organization sends out about 1 million meals in a year, with assistance from a number of schools, churches and communities.

The students worked in 45-minute shifts, measuring the ingredients, placing them in bags, weighing the bags to make sure they were of proper weight, sealing the bags, boxing them, taping the boxes shut and even placing them on pallets.

School staff and community volunteers also helped in the mammoth effort held in St. Mary's Gym. This event was organized by St. Mary's High School Ryan Berg and the high school leadership/student council group.

By taking part, there is a great lesson for students to learn, said Vonnahme. "This teaches social justice at a young age and to be responsible to their fellow humans. We need to take care of each other."

Much of the food sent out by Then Just Feed One goes to Honduras - orphanages, food centers and into the rural mountain areas.

Vonnahme added that though food is the most essential thing needed here, clothing has also been sent, including unsold items from the SOS store.

This is the third year that St. Mary's has participated in the food program.

As a special addition to the event, the Sioux Central large group speech choral reading team was invited to St. Mary's to present their program entitled, Hunger," written by Sioux Central teacher and speech coach, and former St. Mary's teacher, Erin Olson.

The message from "Hunger" hits everyone.

The piece shares statistics - 925 million people are starving in this world and quotes, "I am one but I can make a difference...Feed the future...fight hunger...dream of a world without hunger..."

Olson has written many speech pieces; she is inspired by world issues. "This fall the urgency of hunger and growing economic class disparity was revealed during a newscast, she said. "The evening news had special coverage of the alarming increase in poverty, and the increase of families who are unable to feed their children. These are working families, struggling. This is the story of so many families in our area, our country, and our world. This is an issue. Some have more than enough while others do not have enough. The students and I both hope the audience (who hears the piece) feels inspired to make a difference; we cannot be indifferent to those who are struggling among us."

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