Kingston volunteers package 14,500 meals to fight food insecurity

Click to play video: 'Local organizations fighting food insecurity package 14,500 meals'
Local organizations fighting food insecurity package 14,500 meals
WATCH: Almost 100 volunteers were up and at 'em on Saturday, coming together to package nutritious meals for kids and adults across the Kingston region – Jan 6, 2024

While many people spent their Saturday morning sleeping in, a group of about 100 people gathered in Kingston, Ont.’s midtown to pack up thousands of meals for the less fortunate.

“I was expecting 50, and I’m pretty sure close to 100 that are here today and it’s marvellous,” said Brenda Moore, chair of the Food Sharing Project, of the volunteer turnout.

The collaborative effort between Kids Against Hunger, the Food Sharing Project, Rotary Kingston, Lionhearts Kingston and other groups involved packing up more than 14,000 nutritious “rice meal packs” to be distributed to kids and adults across Kingston and Napanee who are in need.

The food is sourced through Kids Against Hunger. Moore says the need has never been more evident.

“Before the pandemic, we were sending food with a value of $12,000 out to schools every week in 2019. This year, we’re sending food with a value of $21,000,” she said.

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Click to play video: 'Canadian food bank usage hits a record high'
Canadian food bank usage hits a record high

Wayne McConnachie, general manager of Kids Against Hunger, says it’s not just about getting food to the people who need it, but good food that will give them the nutrition they need.

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“Rice is a staple. The second ingredient would be like a high protein, vegetable protein, and it’s fortified with nine minerals, then there’s 21 vitamins and minerals that are thrown in the batch as well,” he said.

Like Moore, McConnachie was impressed by the generosity of the nearly 100 people who gave up their Saturday to help others.

“It shows you the heart of Canadians, the local citizen that wants to contribute, wants to take care of their neighbour,” he added.

It’s no easy work for the volunteers, either.

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Rows of tables were organized with assembly line-like precision as people packed meal kits worth about $6,000.

The group produced so many packs that they overshot their goal of 12,000, ending up with 14,500.

The life-sustaining meals will be distributed to various schools in the region as well as local charities, like the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Kingston and the Partners in Mission Food Bank.

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