Austin packs away hunger

Published 11:18 am Monday, May 28, 2012

Grace Einck, 11, helps pack meals Saturday at the Kids Against Hunger station at Oak Park Mall. -- Eric Johnson/

Four groups and five churches did their part to pack away hunger Saturday.

Packages of simple meals are stacked and ready for boxing as volunteers worked at Oak Park Mall Saturday for Kids Against Hunger.

The groups packed thousands of meals at Austin’s Kids Against Hunger site after area churches donated money to buy the meals.

Carol Brown, one of the leaders of Kids Against Hunger, said the location has done well since opening in December.

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“There’s been a lot of churches that have gotten involved in packing and some that are wanting to do it in the future,” she said.

Saturday offered a chance for individual families and smaller groups to get involved that aren’t necessarily part of a larger group.

Before Saturday, Austin’s Kids Against Hunger site had packed and donated more than 35,500 meals. Brown expected the volunteers to pack thousands of meals on Saturday.

Brown said the site is largely made possible by space donated by Oak Park Mall, and she thanked mall officials, noting the site wouldn’t be open without the donation.

“It’s amazing that we have it,” Brown said of the free facility.

Most of the meals packed in Austin have stayed local, being dispersed through the Salvation Army and a Backpack Ministry that sends meals home with children. The program guarantees children will have healthy food over the weekend.

“This is a totally nutritional meal,” Brown said.

Other food shelves interested in receiving donations and families or groups interested in packing meals can call Brown at 507-433-4849.