Lincoln High School Assembly Line Prepares 20,000 Meals

In the cafeteria adjacent to the Student Commons at Lincoln High School, Foodservice Manager Lisa Foubert and her staff cranked out 515 meals at lunchtime on Tuesday. After filling up on walking tacos and similar fare, some 75 students and staff then reset the Commons as an assembly line for Meals From the Heartland. By the end of the day more than 20,000 meals consisting of soy protein, vitamin powder and dried veggies had been bagged for delivery to hungry mouths in places like Haiti.

Most of the volunteers are enrolled in Ambassadors, an actual class at Lincoln with a strong component of school and community service. And not only did they pitch in at mealtime, they were also involved in the two-month fundraising campaign that culminated with yesterday’s event. There was a coin drive that netted more than $900. Faculty members paid over $800 in fees to participate in Jeans Week. A dodgeball tournament contributed about $500 to the cause and the Southside community business partners and families kicked in about $1,300. All told, more than $3,500 was raised, an amount that buys a lot more vitamin powder than walking tacos.

According to Joe Bianchi, who teaches the Ambassadors, senior Hailey Whitfield first came up with the idea for the project. She’s participated in the much larger scale events that Meals From the Heartland stages on the vast floor space at Hy-Vee Hall downtown and thought something similar would be perfect for an Ambassadors class project. And judging by the Lincoln community’s response there was widespread agreement.

Meals From the Heartland is a nonprofit agency that’s provided more than 22 million meals to starving people around the globe since it launched out of a West Des Moines church in 2007.

Now, besides the massive Annual Hunger Fight that’s waged in a three-day feeding frenzy every fall, events like the one yesterday at Lincoln, called Mobile Hunger Fights, happen regularly. In this one, a contingent of American teens stopped splitting rails for an afternoon, donned gloves and hairnets, and threw more than 20,000 punches at the belly of world hunger. The fight goes on, but the Ambassadors won this round.

MFTH takes its motto from Isaiah 58:10: “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.”

As bright as noon yesterday in the Lincoln High School Student Commons, in this particular case.

Photos of the Lincoln Meals From the Heartland Project

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