A Kingsport church is pitching in to help feed starving children across the globe.
Members of the Kingsport Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church assembled, weighed and packaged more than 10,000 meals for the organization Stop Hunger Now, on Sunday.
"This is simple," said Donna Weinman, a volunteer. We talked to her at the assembling station, where funnels were being used to fill the food bags. "I've been scooping vegetables into the packets," she told us.
Fellow volunteers added soy protein and rice on top of that. The bags also got a vitamin packet.
Weinman said the packing went quickly. "We've done almost 5,000 meals in 15 minutes," she told us.
The bags were weighed at the other end of the room. "We put the last bit of rice in to level it off," said Dan Cole, another volunteer.
He was also in charge of sealing the bags. "You press it down and you have to make sure you have the rice is out of the way," he said.
Next, the bags were sent to volunteer Tonya Meehan, who counted them and put them into boxes. "We're the end of the line," said Meehan. "We're packing the boxes that go into the final box."
Each bag feeds six children; there are 36 bags in every box. That means each box contains 216 meals. On Sunday, they filled 47 boxes, which adds up to more than 10,000 meals.
Stop Hunger Now assistant program manager Steve Deal told us the meals are shipped across the world. "They go to places like Nicaragua, Haiti," said Deal. "About a quarter of our meals go to Haiti."
Deal told us the meals are sent to children's schools and orphanages in those locations. He said the soy protein used in the bags was actually formulated at North Carolina State University for children with development protein problems. "The thought is, if a child eats better, they [learn] better," he said.
Deal told us Stop Hunger Now thinks that this could help end what he calls the cycle of poverty. The Kingsport volunteers were glad to help. "It's something so simple that we can do that has an impact greater than our community," said volunteer Donna Weinman.
The group finished packing the almost 1,700 bags within an hour, and they told us they're ready to do it again.