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  • Writer's pictureArjun Patel

Packing Meals for Families in Ukraine, Haiti, and San Jose!

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Hi guys! I would first like to apologize for the lack of blog posts here for well over a month. I became ill and had lots of schoolwork to catch up on, but I am back now!

I participated in the Kids Against Hunger (KAH) - Bay Area Packing Event on November 9, 2022, and we made over 18,000 meals for families in Ukraine, Haiti, and San Jose! The fee was $20, which made about 120-150 meals per person, and we had to wear hairnets as per FDA law. Moreover, did you guys know that our phones are dirtier than public toilets and that if we brought a phone out during the packing event, they would be fined $10,000?

We started in lines, 6 people per line, and there were 4 bins full of food and nutrients for the food. We packaged the “Rice and Veggies Mealpack,” but KAH also has different options for meals as well. We would get plastic bags and put 1 pound of vitamin-fortified crushed soy in them. This 1 pound of soy is equivalent to 3 pounds of red meat, and the soy contributes 52% of the protein in the meal pack! The fortification of soy adds nine essential vitamins to the meal. Next, we added a tablespoon of a dehydrated blend of 6 vegetables, adding nutrients, flavor, and color to the meal! I especially believe that a meal tastes better when it looks appetizing, and the vivacious color the dried vegetables add to the meal is extraordinary. After that, we added a tablespoon of vitamin and mineral powder, which has 21 vitamins and 9 amino acids, and it adds flavor! The tablespoon proves to be more than enough nutrition for a malnourished individual. The last thing we add is 1 pound of high-quality white, long-grain rice, which fills the stomach and has a long shelf life.

Did you know that the bags we packed the food in are moisture- and odor-proof to prevent spoiling and insect/rodent problems? Also, the bags are three-ply for strength. Once we packed all the ingredients into the bag, it was time to weigh them! We had to weigh the bags to make sure that they were between 391 and 396 grams as per FDA law. Once we added or took the unwanted weight from the bags to make them perfect, we had to seal them. We sealed the bags on the dotted line with a tabletop impulse sealer (heat sealer), and that was it!

The bags were produced by all the volunteers, including me, and we came to a grand total of about 18,729! The food has a shelf life of at least three years, so it will not go bad so fast. To make the food, all you must do is heat boiling water and put the contents of the bag in it for about 20 minutes. This will make 6 meals for hungry adults or children! That means that 1 bag of food feeds 6 people. This is astonishing to me, and with only about 100 volunteers, we were able to make more than 18,000 meals for people around the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed the packing event, and in only an hour and a half, we made more meals than you could possibly imagine, and I encourage all of you to volunteer for KAH here! Just look for a location near you, and the website will tell you about different packing events near you to get involved. Until next time!

- AnthroManTalks

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