Food-packing project shows Key Clubbers they can make a difference

Photos by Kelly Mooney Photography | Jan 31, 2018

rsz_kmp_keyclubfoodbank-3649_kelly_mooney_photography The Key Clubbers from seven New Jersey schools smiled and laughed as they packaged more than 16,000 meals for families experiencing food insecurity. The 70 high school students who came together for the Division 13 service project knew they were making a difference.

"The average percentage of children who are food-insecure within New Jersey is higher than the national average," wrote Madeleine Eichorn in her application for funding from the HALO Movement. "No person, especially a child, should have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from."

Eichorn, lieutenant governor for the division, secured a US$1,083 grant from Kiwanis partner Nickelodeon—who with Kiwanis awarded cash prizes to support local projects. During its inaugural funding round, the HALO Movement contest received applications from 65 Key Clubs around the world. Eleven of those Key Clubs collectively earned more than $11,500 for service projects ranging from animal adoption fairs and after-school workshops to disaster relief and literacy programs.

rsz_kmp_keyclubfoodbank-3411_kelly_mooney_photography In New Jersey, students from Voorhees, North Hunterdon, Delaware Valley, Warren Hills, Phillipsburg, Warren County Vocational and Hunterdon Central High schools met on Saturday, January 27, for the food-packing party. The division combined funds from the HALO Movement grant, the New Jersey Kiwanis Foundation and school fundraisers to buy supplies to make pasta with Italian tomato basil sauce packets.

"This will help the food banks fight food insecurity in the numerous children and families that rely on the food banks for meals," wrote Eichorn. "Food insecurity means that they do not know where their next meal is coming from."

The students formed assembly lines around several tables. One student would take scoop of pasta, another would gather up the spices; another readied a ladle of the soy protein. All would pour their share of the meal into a funnel with a bag attached to the bottom. Once filled, a student changed out the full bag for an empty one. The meals were sealed, then packed in a box. Each bag has a two-year shelf life.

"It is important that Key Clubbers know that they can make a huge impact in their own community if they think big enough, work hard enough, and communicate with each other well enough," wrote Eichorn. "Not only can we help those who need it, but we can inspire others to think big and do the same."

Are you ready for round two? Key Club is teaming up with Nickelodeon again to help Key Clubbers around the world serve more communities and more people. As part of Nickelodeon’s HALO Movement—which shines a light on youth who act to improve their communities—Key Clubbers can earn funding (up to $2,500!) for awesome service projects. Learn more and apply by April 30, 2018.

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