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Packing for a cause

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Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 8:00 am

The goal for students at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School was to make a difference in the lives of people living in underdeveloped countries. It didn't hurt that they had fun doing it.

On Friday, 130 students, along with a few teachers, packed thousands of meals for Feed My Starving Children.

Over the course of the last two months, the students raised about $12,000 to put toward the effort.

All told, this amount will generate roughly 58,000 meals.

"It was inspiring to learn about what is going on in the rest of the world so we wanted to help out in any way we could," Hannah Dooley, 12, said.

The students put on events, such as a walk-a-thon, hosted lemonade stands, sold iPod raffle tickets and took donations from friends and family, in order to raise money.

They packed for about three-and-a-half hours on May 20.

"We can save so many lives in just a couple of hours," Nina Patel, 13, said.

The meals they put together contain rice, soy nuggets, vitamins and minerals, and dehydrated vegetables.

The bag of ingredients will feed up to six people and only requires boiling water.

"To think of all the people it is going to help, it puts a smile on my face," Sarah Adams, 12, said. "It's such a great cause and the thought of saving people's lives makes it real."

Feed My Starving Children does not have any permanent packing locations in Arizona so that made it difficult for school officials to secure a time to pack.

The temporary location for Feed My Starving Children, 7965 S. Priest Drive in Tempe, is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Food packed by Arizona residents specifically goes to three different countries: Nicaragua, the Philippines and North Korea.

While they are providing temporary relief to these countries, the underlying goal lies deeper.

"The goal is to get them off the feeding program and help make these locations sustainable on their own," said Meghan Talmaje, team leader for the organization.

This is the third time seventh-grade math teacher Kerry Buck has conducted a packing event for the students at Altadeña.

"What they raised exceeded my expectations," Buck said. "This experience is great because they get to do a hands-on activity and they see how they can create a positive impact on people around the world."

Feed My Starving Children is a Christian organization but they distribute to countries of all beliefs.

To find out more, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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