Commentary: Kids Against Hunger success anchored in Verde Valley's giving spirit

Hundreds of Kids Against Hunger Verde Valley volunteers packed 250,124 meals at a day-long event at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds Saturday. Teams of men, women and children mannd the packing lines cheering as they reached goals. Here, the Sodexo group that provides food and custodial services for area schools,  cheers after reaching a goal. VVN/Vyto Starinskas
Hundreds of Kids Against Hunger Verde Valley volunteers packed 250,124 meals at a day-long event at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds Saturday. Teams of men, women and children mannd the packing lines cheering as they reached goals. Here, the Sodexo group that provides food and custodial services for area schools, cheers after reaching a goal. VVN/Vyto Starinskas
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KIDS AGAINST HUNGER VERDE VALLEY
The Verde Valley has always been known for its spirit of volunteerism. That was never more evident than during Saturday's Kids Against Hunger event at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds.

I've served with this organization since its inception. During Saturday's event, I reminded our president Bob Shimko that when we did our first event in April 2011, our team of volunteers worked a 14-hour day to package 28,000 meals.

Saturday, we worked for roughly 12 hours to produce 250,124 meals.

The difference between then and now is twofold. First, we have learned a lot as we have done all these different events over the past three and a half years. We have greatly improved our assembly-line efficiency.

More importantly, we have a lot more help than we did when we first began this endeavor. During Saturday's event, we had more than 500 packing volunteers work three different 2-hour shifts and each group succeeded in packing more than 80,000 meals. In addition, we had more than 100 volunteers provide support service all day Saturday as well as during our set-up for the event Friday.

All of our volunteers are important, but it bears special emphasis of how our organization has been unofficially adopted by the Cottonwood and Verde Valley fire departments almost from the very beginning of this journey.

Last year, I was driving a truck back to Cottonwood from Surprise, Arizona, with several tons of new food product as well as all of our line equipment. Upon my arrival to our warehouse, there were more than a dozen firemen waiting for me. They unloaded the truck in short order and it made for the perfect ending to my day.

This past weekend we had firemen from both departments helping with the Friday set-up, and Saturday the Cottonwood firemen manned a product assembly line for two shifts in between service and medical emergency calls.

We saw the same spirit of volunteerism from a host of churches in the Verde Valley and students from elementary age to high school. Young and old alike all rolled up their sleeves to help us get the job done. A quarter of a million-plus meals.

With this event, we've developed a new product that will be distributed 100 percent locally to schools, senior centers, missions, churches, food banks and other organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry.

In addition, we will continue our distribution to third-world countries where childhood starvation is epidemic. Thanks to the network of someone who knows someone who knows someone, we're able to deliver meals to such outposts as Haiti and the Philippines for next to nothing thanks to the folks at Luke Air Force Base and the U.S. Navy's humanitarian aid relief efforts that ship from Florida.

At every step of the way in the journey of Manzanita Outreach/Verde Valley Kids Against Hunger, our organization has never lacked for anything. Initially, Verde Valley Medical Center allowed us to use the top floor of their new facility to store our product and supplies. We now have our own warehouse thanks to Verde Valley Christian Church. Every time we've had to make a big-ticket purchase for supplies, or most recently a new fork lift, we've had enough money to meet our needs, with much of it coming from anonymous donors.

Our success story is very similar to the way Tom Sawyer got his fence painted.

You guys deserve all the credit.


Dan Engler
Editor
Verde Valley Newspapers editor Dan Engler is a member of the board of directors for Manzanita Outreach/Verde Valley Kids Against Hunger. Since its inception, the organization has packaged more than 800,000 meals.


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October 11th Packing Event Registration!

Our registration for this event is closed.

If you would like to print a waiver and bring it with you and just  try to show up at the begining of each session, we can see if we have no shows and can fit you in. Thank you for your interest in helping.
  
  Session times are: 8:00am-10:30am/ 11:00am-1:30pm/ 2:00pm-4:30pm

In the past Kids Against Hunger Verde Valley has suggested a financial donation to help us pack. This has covered the food, supplies and shipping the packaged food to those in need - here in the Verde Valley or in Haiti. For our October 11th event we aren't requiring a cash donation to volunteer, but we would still appreciate your contribution.




Please print, sign, and bring this Waiver with you on event day!
If you would like some additional training please feel free to watch these two videos for line leaders and packers.

Check out this video from Kids Against Hunger on how to pack.

Check out this video from Outreach on our all new, 100% local distribution!


To read more about our packing event click here, or read the previous post on the Verde Independent article.


We look forward to seeing you on October 11th!
-Kids Against Hunger Verde Valley



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Check out our latest news article from the Verde Independent!

Volunteers, donations, sponsorships sought for Oct. 11 250,000-meal Kids Against Hunger event

Planning is now in full swing for the largest food-packaging event in the history of Manzanita Outreach/Verde Valley Kids Against Hunger.

Manzanita Outreach/Verde Valley Kids Against Hunger will partner with the community to package 250,000 meals in a day-long event at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds Oct. 11.

Since its first event in April 2011, VV Kids Against Hunger has packaged 575,248 meals. The majority of those meals have been distributed to combat childhood starvation in third-world countries: 361,800 meals have been sent to Haiti, 24,624 to Mexico and 23,760 were sent to the Philippines.

The remaining 159,816 meals were distributed in the Verde Valley and Yavapai County. Between April 2011 and July 2014, 33.6 percent of the packaged meals were distributed to those in need in the Verde Valley and Yavapai County.

In addition to the organization's food product for international distribution, at the Oct. 11 eventKids Against Hunger will package a new macaroni-and-cheese product that will be distributed 100-percent locally.

Manzanita Outreach Board President Bob Shimko said, "We are very excited to now have the ability to package and distribute a food product designed specifically to address local needs.  The community support we have received has allowed us to achieve amazing results in Haiti.  However, we realize that there is a need right here at home and we know that the people of the Verde Valley are generous, compassionate, and committed to helping as needed.  We would like everyone to come out on October 11th to make a difference."

Two packing sessions remain for the Oct. 11 event:

• Session 1 -- FULL

• Session 2, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• Session 3, 2-4:30 p.m.

About 230 community volunteers will be needed to man the 20 packing lines for each session. In all, about 700 volunteers will be needed throughout the day. Food-packers must be at least 10 years old.

In addition to the food-packaging event, on Friday, Oct. 10, 4 p.m., volunteers will be needed to help move supplies to the Fairgrounds and to set up the packing lines and food-staging areas.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, volunteers will be needed for the following positions: registration, information table, line leaders, kitchen help, bin fillers, boxers, product movers and more. After the event is over, there will be another two to three hours of work for post-event break down.

Financial donations to help pay the costs associated with this event are encouraged.

Individuals desiring to make donations for the event, or to sign-up as volunteers can do so by visiting the Verde Valley Kids Against Hunger web site at kahverdevalley.org.

Kids Against Hunger is also accepting $1,000 sponsorships for its Oct. 11 event. The tax-deductible sponsorships will pay for the costs of the food supplies that will be packaged at the Oct. 11 event and will allow community members, clubs and organizations to participate in the event for free.

Individuals and companies who want to make tax-deductible sponsorships can do so by contacting Karen at 928-649-5772 or Bob at 928-300-3513.

Additional information is available by email at kahverdevalley@gmail.com, by visiting the KAH web site at kahverdevalley.org or on Facebook at Kids Against Hunger - Verde Valley 


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Check out our Verde Independent Article: Kids Against Hunger plans 250,000-meal packaging event Oct. 11




Kids Against Hunger plans 250,000-meal packaging event Oct. 11
 
Since its first event in April 2011, VV Kids Against Hunger has packaged 576,088 meals, the majority of which have been sent to combat childhood starvation in Haiti.  Approximately 15 percent of the meals are distributed locally in the Verde Valley.
Since its first event in April 2011, VV Kids Against Hunger has packaged 576,088 meals, the majority of which have been sent to combat childhood starvation in Haiti.  Approximately 15 percent of the meals are distributed locally in the Verde Valley.
COTTONWOOD -- Manzanita Outreach/Verde Valley Kids Against Hunger will have its most ambitious food-packaging event ever later this year.

Kids Against Hunger once again will partner with the community to package 250,000 meals in a day-long event at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds Oct. 11.

Since its first event in April 2011, VV Kids Against Hunger has packaged 576,088 meals, the majority of which have been sent to combat childhood starvation in Haiti.

Approximately 15 percent of the meals are distributed locally in the Verde Valley.

At the Oct. 11 event, Kids Against Hunger will continue to package its standard product for Haiti distribution, but the organization also will package a new meal product that will be distributed 100 percent locally.

Manzanita Outreach Board President Bob Shimko said, "We are very excited to now have the ability to package and distribute a food product designed specifically to address local needs.  The community support we have received has allowed us to achieve amazing results in Haiti.  However, we realize that there is a need right here at home and we know that the people of the Verde Valley are generous, compassionate, and committed to helping as needed.  We would like everyone to come out on October 11th to make a difference."

Shimko said Kids Against Hunger is now accepting $1,000 sponsorships for its Oct. 11 event.

The tax-deductible sponsorships will pay for the costs of the food supplies that will be packaged at the Oct. 11 event and will allow community members, clubs and organizations to participate in the event for free.

Individuals and companies who want to purchase tax-deductible sponsorships can do so by contacting Karen at 928-649-5772 or Bob at 928-300-3513.  



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