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Passion to Help the Hungry Inspires Senior Project

More than 100 students and staff helped package 38,016 meals for Meals from the Heartland.

Meals from the Heartland now has 38,016 more meals packaged thanks to the efforts of Valley seniors Amber Aeilts and Abigail Austin.

The duo coordinated efforts for their senior honors project, enlisting more than 100 volunteers for the event. After a year of planning, students, staff and community members assembled for two hours and were able to surpass Aeilts and Austin’s goal of packaging 30,000 meals.

“They have done a tremendous job,” said Dave Bradley, executive director of Meals from the Heartland. “We ship continuously overseas, but even locally, DMARC is coming to our warehouse to pick up 100 boxes of food to distribute right here in Des Moines through the food pantry system, so it means a lot.”

Both girls have been involved with Meals from the Heartland since its inception. They both believe that hunger is a prominent issue in the world and enjoy making a difference not only in their community but across the globe.

“It feels great being able to know that what we are doing as a school and what we are doing as a community is going to be able to help people both in the Des Moines area and everywhere else in the world,” said Austin. “Because of what we are doing kids will go to bed with food in their stomachs; it’s just a great feeling.”