More than 800,000 meals packed at Feed the Need event at Benedictine

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Nearly 3,000 people packed into Benedictine University’s Dan and Ada Rice Center last weekend for the 13th annual Feed The Need! Illinois MobilePack event. 

Specially formulated meals to feed children in need worldwide

Religious organizations, service groups, and individual volunteers ages five and up from around the area participated in making MannaPack Rice Meals from Feed My Starving Children, to be distributed worldwide to children in need.  

“We’ve already had two sessions yesterday where we transformed the Rice Center into a packing powerhouse.  And we’ve got six different sessions where we’re having up to 700 volunteers per session that are packing manna rice meals per bag, 36 bags per box, those boxes are palletized and shipped to save starving children around the world,” said Feed The Need Chairman, Matt Hebel. 

The meals contain a mix of dehydrated vegetables, soy, rice, and nutrients. This year, organizers say there was a total of 800,928 meals packed over the two-day event. That will feed 2,194 kids per day for an entire year. 

Feed the Need event moved to Benedictine this year

The event had most recently been held at North Central College, but when scheduling conflicts occurred, students at Benedictine stepped up to help the group land in this new space.

“It’s largely due to the leadership of several of our student leaders that are part of our Arthur J. Schmitt Scholars Program.  And they were looking for opportunities within their service work to be able to give back to the community and this need was available for a space for Feed My Starving Children, and so it’s all thanks to our students that they’re here today,” said Benedictine President Joseph Foy.  

Making a difference, one meal at a time 

Many of the volunteers were repeat visitors to the event, like Hebel’s daughter Emerson, who’s been involved for more than a decade. She hopes others also get hooked after seeing all the good that comes from their efforts. 

“I hope that they learn that volunteering is a really important thing, and any little action that you do truly impacts the world,” said volunteer Emerson Hebel.  “I hope that they grow up to keep wanting to volunteer and realizing that the time that they put in is really valuable to making a difference.”

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