The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 26, 2014

Volunteers spend Saturday preparing 280,000 meals that will be sent to Haiti

JOPLIN, Mo. — Three years ago, Amy Koch spent a two-hour shift packaging meals during the first Victory 4 Haiti event in Joplin. On Saturday, she decided to volunteer for all four shifts.

“I loved it so much that I was like, ‘I’m just going to do all four next time,’” she said.

Koch, 16, was joined by her father, Jeff, and 8-year-old brother Aidan.

The family attends Christ’s Community United Methodist Church in Joplin, and they were among the more than 1,600 people who volunteered their time to help package 280,000 meals that will be sent to the Haitian Christian Mission in the village of Fond-Parisien and elsewhere in Haiti.

The meals will allow the mission alone to serve more than 2,500 daily meals to school-age children for approximately 90 days.

“It’s nice being able to do this as a family,” Amy Koch said. “It’s a lot of fun to be able to help, not just these kids, but the people in Haiti. It makes you feel good.”

Jeff Koch said watching all of the volunteers package the meals was great.

“You can visualize, with all the packages of food we made, what impact this is going to have with the kids,” he said. “We can do so much more, but it’s a great program.”

“It truly is,” Aidan added. “It’s the first time I’m here.”

Before their shifts, volunteers watched an instructional video on how to package the meals. Then it was time for hair nets, hand sanitizer and gloves as they gathered around 20 tables inside the Victory Ministry and Sports Complex, 3405 S. Hammons Blvd. Some people stayed for two-hour shifts, and others spent the day at the event.

The meals contain dehydrated vegetables, vitamin powder, soy protein and rice.

“I tried one of the meals,” said Gayle Greer, who has volunteered for multiple food-packaging events for Haiti. “It’s pretty tasty.”

Greer volunteered with other members of Blendville Christian Church in Joplin.

“We have a lot of fun,” she said. “And, of course, it goes to kids who need food. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’re helping somebody else.”

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