When was the last time you and your friends put on some hairnets and had some fun? Never you say? According to one local non-profit, donning a hairnet and gathering with friends and co-workers is a great way to have a good time, and most importantly, to help others. Tucked away on the south side of Indianapolis sits Pack Away Hunger, a non-profit organization dedicated to greatly improving the lives of children and others who suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
The lack of proper nutrition creates serious health and developmental consequences for individuals and has far reaching implications for communities. In the United States 15.8 million children do not have regular access to healthy meals (1). In developing countries one out of six children -- roughly 100 million -- is underweight, the result of acute or chronicmalnutrition (2).
In a world with such vast resources, Pack Away Hunger thinks this is unacceptable. To achieve their mission, Pack Away Hunger set out to develop a highly nutritious meal that could be safely distributed to local food banks as well as developing countries. Working in collaboration with The Mathile Institute for Human Nutrition they developed The Nutri-Plenty® Meal. The Nutri-Plenty® Meal contains rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and most importantly M+ Micronutrients, a scientifically-proven blend of 21 vitamins and minerals shown to help alleviate and also reverse the effects of micronutrient malnutrition in young children. In short, the meal does much more than just fill hungry stomachs. It provides critical nutrition that helps fend off life-threatening conditions like anemia and diarrhea. The meal is easy to prepare, requiring only a cooking vessel, boiling water and a spoon. It has a long shelf life, making it ideal for food banks, and for the long journey to developing countries.
Now back to those hairnets. Pack Away Hunger is not alone in their desire to help children and others suffering from hunger. Enter the army of donors and volunteers who make it possible to create and distribute Nutri-Plenty® Meals to those in need. Like-minded community organizations, businesses, churches and individuals make financial donations so Pack Away Hunger can purchase the raw materials needed for the meals. Then, the group comes together to create the meals at a “packing event”. The events are family friendly, powerful and fun. Participants feel a sense of purpose, knowing the meals they pack with their own hands will meet a significant need for someone in their neighborhood or in a community around the world.
Making an impact. Since opening its doors in 2008, Pack Away Hunger has held more than 200 packing events and engaged more than 46,000 volunteers. Those events have created 10 Millionmeals for people in need, both near and far. Regular distribution to partner agencies in Haiti and Guatemala creates stability for children by allowing them to concentrate in school and in some cases simply survive the effects of malnutrition. Locally, the meals help families in Central Indiana by providing healthy food when they may not be able to make ends meet.
Join the fun and feel good. Pack Away Hunger often holds packing events that are open to the public. This Thanksgiving, they held their 3rd Annual Pack Friday event, offering families an alternative to Black Friday shopping. Other events have included Pack to the Future and St. Packtrick’s Day. Visit PackAwayHunger.org to join an event today, and you will be on your way to providing Life.Changing.Nutrition.
For more information visit PackAwayHunger.org or contact Charles Miller at 317-429-9876.
(1) United States Department of Agriculture
(2) The World Food Programme