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Kids Against Hunger event packages 190,000 meals for the hungry

Volunteers work together bagging meals for Kids Against Hunger at the Buffalo Mall Saturday. The meals are then distributed to people in need all over the world, including some in North Dakota. Kari Lucin / The Sun1 / 2
A man works as part of an assembly line of volunteers Saturday to bag nutritious meals of rice, dried vegetables, soy and vitamins for Kids Against Hunger at the Buffalo Mall. Kari Lucin / The Sun2 / 2

Between 400 and 500 volunteers gathered at the Buffalo Mall Saturday in an effort to package 190,000 meals for the hungry with Kids Against Hunger.

It was the fourth event of its kind in Jamestown.

“A lot of families (are here) too, so it’s great to see the turnout,” said Janna Bergstedt, president of the Kiwanis Club of Jamestown, which organized the event.

Kiwanis was able to purchase $40,000 of supplies — $10,000 more than was raised last year.

The money purchases meals composed of rice, soy, vegetables and vitamins, which assembly-line volunteers bag and place in boxes. All the person receiving the meals needs to do is add water to the dried ingredients and boil them for 20 minutes, creating a nutritious hotdish.

This year, a portion of the meals will be distributed locally through the Great Plains Food Bank.

“I think there’s a lot of worthy organizations out there that help with food relief,” Bergstedt said. “This one is unique in that you assemble the meals yourself … and help save the lives of children throughout the world.”

While the organization is called Kids Against Hunger, people of all ages participated in the bagging event Saturday, including people of retirement age as well as young people.

Groups and service clubs from all over the region participated, including the Aktion Club and students at the University of Jamestown, Bergstedt said.

Families also bagged meals together.

“I’ve tried every job so far, and I think the (bag) sealing is probably my favorite,” said Ryan Russell, 14, of Jamestown, who also helped out at last year’s bagging event.

Russell was bagging meals along with his cousins, Abby Russell and Damon Gainsforth, and also their grandparents — “to help kids who are hungry.”

The hardest part about sealing bags was keeping up with the people measuring rice and other ingredients, Russell said.

“It’s a really good cause, that’s for sure,” said Vicki Odland, another volunteer.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453                    or by email at