Students in Meridian were busy Friday morning packaging 10,000 one-pound soup packages – enough to feed 60,000 Idahoans. Students and staff from The Ambrose School of Meridian partnered with Homestead Ministries of Colfax, Wash., to give back to the community – Feed the Need. The entire K-12 school, 512 students, formed an assembly line to produce soup bags for the Boise Rescue Mission, Meridian Food Bank, McCall Food Pantry, Donneley Food Pantry, Hope Lutheran and Vineyard-Feeding God’s Children.
“We have been concerned about the hunger problem within children in Idaho and wanted to do something about the statistic,” said Davies Owens, head of vision and advancement at the school. “We want to show our students in a hands-on way how to serve other people.”
More than 21 percent of Idaho’s children are food insecure — 90,240 children (or 1 in 5). Nearly 16 percent of Idaho’s residents are food insecure — 250,830 people (or 1 in 6), according to the Idaho Foodbank.
Homestead Ministries began Feed the Need last year. The organization purchases or receives donations of locally grown grains such as beans, peas, lentils, wheat and barley from farmers and processors, along with spices, bags and labels. Those items were delivered to The Ambrose School this week and students like Brayden Kenney, a third-grader, mixed the soup bags together.
“I like feeding people – it’s really fun,” Kenney said. “Filling the bags up with beans with my friends is the best part.”
Nathan Tupper, a junior, enjoys doing volunteer work and considers Feed the Need as a job.
“It is a great opportunity for the upperclassmen to come together and work with the younger students,” Tupper said. “We are working as a team to make a difference.”
First Lady Lori Otter, Sen. Chuck Winder and Meridian law enforcement joined in with the kids to help package the meals. More than 70 volunteers helped out throughout the day.
“The staff is already talking about bringing this back next year – who knows, we could shoot for 15,000 meals in 2016,” Owens said.