North Idaho Christian School packs more than 10,000 meals for Feed the Need project

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DEVIN WEEKS/Press North Idaho Christian School third-grader Miri Claridge pours a serving of soy protein into a bag held by seventh-grader Emma Vonlind during a Feed the Need packing party in North Idaho Christian School’s gym on Thursday. NICS students raised more than $53,000 to support their school and pack more than 10,000 meals to send to kids in Haiti. Also pictured: seventh-grader Maggie Thomas.

HAYDEN — Every meal pack was filled with vitamins, dehydrated veggies and rice, then topped with love and a prayer.

"We package it up and we put the stickers on," third-grader Hayden Kane said on Thursday morning, smiling beneath a white hairnet.

North Idaho Christian School raised about $53,000 through the Feed the Need fundraiser to package more than 10,000 meals that will be sent to orphanages and schools in Haiti, an extremely impoverished nation where 100,000 children younger than 5 suffer from severe malnutrition and the growth of one in three children has been stunted. According to humanitarian organization World Food Programme, Haiti is the poorest nation in the northern hemisphere, two out of three Haitians live on less than $2 (U.S.) a day and less than half of its households have access to safe water. Plus, the country is still suffering from being ravaged by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

"We picked Haiti because it has the biggest need for food," said NICS mom and Feed the Need event coordinator Jennifer Scott. "We heard of Feed the Need and we thought it would be a really fun thing to get our kids involved and do a service."

Feed the Need is a global organization through which schools can participate in service projects while raising a bit of funding for themselves. Scott said it's like a jog-a-thon, where the students reach out to their contacts and request donations, the school pays for the project that will help feed kids in need and the rest of the funds can be used to support the school. It's a win-win.

"They're just so excited," Scott said. "It was really cool when we got to present it to them about six weeks ago. The idea of what we’re doing, they just really got involved in it."

Wearing their food safety gear, students from first through 12th grade cycled through the school's gym, working in assembly lines to properly fill and weigh the bags, seal them and prepare them for shipping. The school prayed over the boxes when the project was completed to send an extra serving of good vibes to the children who will receive the meals.

“My favorite part is probably fixing up the meals and dumping it into the bags,” said third-grader Mason Peters.

When asked about how he felt knowing his school would be helping kids just like him in another country, his eyes lit up.

"Very, very happy," he said.

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