Marshall County student philanthropists and volunteers package 20,000 meals to feed the hungry of Marshall County

Students and community members team up to package taco-mac meals in the MHS cafeteria on Wednesday.

More than 100 volunteers gathered in the Marshalltown High School cafeteria to package 20,000 meals for the hungry in Marshall County on Wednesday. The event was coordinated by student philanthropy groups from Marshalltown, East Marshall, and West Marshall high schools and was sponsored by the Community Foundation of Marshall County (CFMC) and the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation.

After conducting research, the student philanthropy groups – including Marshalltown’s Students Teaching and Empowering Philanthropy (STEP) – determined that they would work to address food insecurity in Marshall County.

The students selected Meals From the Heartland to host Wednesday’s mobile meal packaging event, due to the fact that their taco-mac food package was extremely well received by recipients. The young philanthropists then secured donations of $5,000 from the Martha Ellen-Tye Foundation, Mechdyne, Great Western Bank, and the Rotary Club of Marshalltown.

The students then recruited over 100 volunteers to participate in the meal packaging event. Finally, they developed a distribution plan for the meals, all of which will remain in Marshall County. Some of the organizations that will be receiving the taco-mac packages include: SEAL Little Free Pantries, East Marshall Backpack Program, Emergency Food Box, House of Compassion, Iowa State Extension Service, Salvation Army and Marshall County Veterans Affairs.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the efforts put forth by the students to make this event a success. The community embraced this project and partnered with the students at every phase,” said CMFC Executive Director Julie Hitchins. “Thank you to the financial sponsors for their support, the Marshalltown Community School District for providing a venue and all the volunteers that assisted with the meal packaging! We are truly better together!”