Area volunteers have packed 150,000 meals for Nicaraguan families through the local organization, Helping Kids Round First.
It’s an effort to put food in the hands of some of the poorest people in Central America, where Helping Kids Round First has donated baseball equipment, medical equipment and more.
“I want to see Nicaraguan families at a table eating these,” said Craig Severtson, founder. “This will fill your family up.”
Volunteers packaged meals for six in bags that included rice, dried soy, dehydrated vegetables and a chicken flavoring that includes vitamins and minerals. Each serving provides 226 calories, and Severtson said families also can add anything they have to the pot of food, whether it be onion, other vegetables or meat. The packages were boxed as part of an assembly line in a family shed and will be shipped by container to Nicaragua.
Last week, several volunteers from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Messiah Lutheran Church, the Pleasant Valley Hutterite Colony and businesses in the area, including some from Madison and Sioux Falls, packaged meals. In addition, BankStar Financial of Elkton brought every employee of the bank, including the president, to volunteer, Severtson said.
Youth from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls finished up the week with nine volunteers. The project was one of several service projects for the group to replace a planned trip to Toronto, Canada, which had to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brynn Heinert, 19 and an Augustana University student, said it’s good to do work close to home because there are so many needs, and she was able to see how it makes a difference. “You can see all the bags,” she said.
Helen Nigus, 18, will go to South Dakota State University this month and was happy to make an impact against hunger. “It’s just rewarding,” she said.
Severtson said there is a huge lack of food in Nicaragua, a situation that he sees continuing. “The need is out there,” he said.
Each meal costs 17 cents, and donations can be made to Helping Kids Round First to help pay for the food, Severtson said. To find out how to contribute to the organization, go to www.helpingkidsroundfirst.org or send contributions to 23075 SD Highway 13, Flandreau, SD, 57028.
The project is backed by the South Dakota synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Catholic church, both of which have churches he works with in Nicaragua, Severtson said.