OSAGE, Iowa - It's an effort to stop hunger.
Since Thursday, volunteers from across North Iowa and even Southern Minnesota have been packing food to send to hungry families across the world.
'Feed My Starving Children' is a Twin Cities-based non-profit dedicated to providing nutritionally complete meals to those in impoverished nations. They include rice, soy (which acts as a protein), vitamins, and dehydrated vegetables.
Sisters Sarah and Emily Kretzschmar have been a part of packing events with the organization for many years. Despite the size of the bag, they say the meals can have a huge impact.
"Each bag has six meals in it. It can feed a family of six. With just this, and six cups of water," Sarah says.
Not only that, but each meal costs roughly 25 cents. And boxes of the meals, which have easy to understand directions regardless of language, are sent to numerous countries shortly after they're packed.
"They're in the most dangerous countries. Places that we don't think of. They're in North Korea, they're in the Congo, they're in Haiti. And that's where they talk about these places that have riots and all that. They're there, they're feeding kids and families."
Emily, who's visited Haiti and has seen devastation up close, says it's one of the top three nations that Feed My Starving Children serves. And she's seeing how work back in the U.S. is helping.
"When my Aunt first started going down (about 7 years ago), the pictures she'd bring back...the kids would have red hair at the end of their hair. Most of their hair was red, which is a classic sign of malnutrition. When I was down there, I didn't see any kids that had a little bit of red hair. They all had this beautiful black hair they were supposed to have, and they were all smiling and running and happy."
Last year, more than 1.3 million volunteers helped pack at more than 312 mobile packing sites nationwide. For those interested in packing, Feed My Starving Children has permanent packing sites in Chanhassen, Coon Rapids and Eagan, all in Minnesota, as well as in Arizona, Illinois and Texas.