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Helping combat food insecurity

By Staff | May 1, 2014

MEMBERS OF IOWA FFA chapters filled the floor level of Hilton Coliseum in Ames on April 27 to help package meals for Food From The Heartland. Sixteen tables of 10-member teams filled, weighed and sealed meals. The shifts were changed hourly. The activity kicked off the 86th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference in Ames.

By LARRY KERSHNER

“mailto:kersh@farm-news.com”>kersh@farm-news.com

AMES – Members of the East Sac FFA joined other Iowa chapters to package more than 250,000 soy-based Meals From The Heartland, during the 86th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference, which started April 27 in Ames.

The East Sac chapter was among 1,500 FFA volunteers who took turns packaging, weighing and sealing the nutritious meals that will feed people internationally, while building demand for Iowa-grown soybeans.

Meals From The Heartland,” said Hector Echevarria, of Sac City, the chapter’s vice president, “helps a ton of people every year and pulls off millions and millions of meals every year.

JAMIE HILAND, of Sac City, a member of the East Sac chapter of FFA, pours a scoop of soy into a meal bag on April 27. She said this is her fifth year to volunteer for the meal-assembling activity, an annual event during the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference.s

“We love being part of this.”

This was Echevarria’s second year to be part of the event.

Chapter member Jamie Hiland, of Sac City, said this was her fifth year packaging the meals, while members Tate Carlson, of Storm Lake; and Emma Mortensen, of Wall Lake; were helping for their fourth time.

Chapter member Riley Paysen’s job was weighing each meal packet.

“I just want to help people out,” Paysen said, “and to help make their lives better.”

RILEY PAYSEN, a member of the East Sac chapter of FFA, adds a little rice to the meal bag to assure the food packet weighs the prescribed amount — between 390 to 393 grams. Paysen said this is his fourth year to volunteer for the event.

This was his fourth year to volunteer, he said.

The packaging event is made possible with support from the Iowa FFA Foundation and its partners – the Iowa Food and Family Project, a part of the Iowa Soybean Association, and GROWMARK.

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MEMBERS OF IOWA FFA chapters watch a training video on how the meals they pack for Meals From The Heartland will be used. The activity was a kick-off on April 27 of the 2014 Iowa State FFA Convention.