The Iowa Soybean Research Center kicked off Soybean Month in Iowa by hosting a Meals from the Heartland food packaging event Aug. 2. More than 50 student, faculty and staff volunteers in color-coded team T-shirts -- many from the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Sciences and Engineering -- packaged 38,000 meals in two hours at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. It was the center's third annual event, all made possible by a Cargill donation to cover the cost of the ingredients for Taco Mac meals which includes soy protein flour, enriched pasta and a vitamin- and mineral-fortified cheese mix.
Some of the meals packaged at Wednesday's event -- about 2,500 -- will stay in Ames. They'll be delivered to the SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers) food pantry in Beyer Hall and Food at First at the First Christian Church downtown, which offers a daily hot meal and food stuffs for those in need. The rest will be distributed in the Des Moines area and, possibly, wherever a natural disaster has occurred recently.
Headquartered in West Des Moines, Meals from the Heartland relies on financial donations and volunteers from local organizations who package meals for delivery to malnourished people in Iowa, across the country and around the world. Last year, those meal distribution ratios were 3%, 13% and 84%, respectively.