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'It’s heartwarming,' Volunteers make meal packs for organization dedicated to fighting food insecurity

Heartland Kids Against Hunger held a bagging event Saturday in West Omaha
Posted at 10:25 AM, Feb 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-25 11:25:13-05
  • Volunteers spent their Saturday making meal packs for Heartland Kids Against Hunger.
  • The organization holds meal pack making events creating thousands of packs that can help those across the Omaha metro and beyond facing extreme food insecurity.


Volunteers with the Rotary West Omaha Club spent their Saturday putting together thousands of meal packs, inside them are ingredients that can be used to make meals, the goal of it is to address hunger.

Crushed soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables and mineral power are put inside the bags which can be converted to a sustainable meal with the addition of boiling water.

The organization Heartland Kids Against Hunger holds bag making events, Stephanie O'Neil is the executive director.

“We package meals to make sure that our local food pantries get filled and make sure nobody in our communities is going hungry.” She said.

Volunteer Kristyn Ostler is a mom of six, and understands how important food access is.

“I appreciate how difficult it is when your kids are hungry,” She said. “A little bit of food can make the difference for just a simple day to go better.”

Her daughter, Elizabeth also tagged along, eager to help.

“At first I was hesitant,” Elizabeth said. “Now it’s fun to do. I'm glad i can be here to help.”

The organization started at the height of the pandemic, when O’Neill saw how prevalent food insecurity was.

“The food pantry lines were crazy, kids couldn’t get their meals over the summertime,” She said. “We wanted to make sure that that was always an option for them.”

It’s an issue that hits close to home,

“I grew up with food insecurity as well so when I got the opportunity to volunteer for Heartland Kids Against Hunger, I jumped on it. I fell in love with the mission, and I don't plan on going anywhere.

The combination of volunteer work and the mission of Heartland Kids Against Hunger creates the perfect recipe for a generous community that not only leaves bellies full, but hearts too.

“Just to make sure that their neighbors are being fed, it’s heartwarming,” O’Neil said. “I love it!”

Three volunteer groups helped create around 44,000 meal packs Saturday. The meal packs will be distributed to various locations and organizations across the metro that work with those facing extreme food insecurity.