Thu, Feb. 27

Kids Against Hunger needs 690 people Oct. 3

Karen Freeman

Karen Freeman

COTTONWOOD - No one wants to see a child go hungry. But would you give 90 minutes to feed 250,000?

"We need 690 volunteers to come pack food. We are desperate to get the word out," said Karen Freeman, executive director of Manzanita Outreach/Kids Against Hunger's 2nd Annual 250,000 Community Meal Packing Event.

Saturday, Oct. 3, three shifts of volunteers will be packing a quarter-million meals at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds in order to feed hungry children in Yavapai County, as well as impoverished Haiti.

"I went there in 2010 with Kim Gould after the earthquake. It was horrible. Mothers were feeding their kids dirt cookies," Freeman said.

Since that time, Freeman and friend Kim Gould took it upon themselves to organize a way to feed hungry children in Haiti, as well as here locally.

"The first couple years, we had no building. The Verde Valley Medical Center let us store food packages on the 3rd floor," said Freeman.

"Then Verde Valley Christian donated a warehouse, but there was no room to pack. So now we house food there and use the Verde Valley Fairgrounds to pack," Freeman said.

The event is especially important to Freeman this year. Representatives from the national Kids Against Hunger office in Omaha as well as Con Agra will be on hand to launch a new food product for local distribution.

"It's a Latin mix of rice and beans. No more mac and cheese," said Freeman.

Over 50 percent of meals packed will stay in Yavapai County to serve local children, seniors and veterans.

"The Yavapai Food Council will distribute them to over 40 emergency food banks," Freeman said.

Also being packaged will be the traditional Kids Against Hunger rice meal for distribution to Haiti.

The rice meal package has been developed by food scientists at Cargill, Pillsbury, General Mills and ADM to provide six nutritionally-complete servings at 25 cents per serving.

Back at home, those unable to attend the even can still feed a child by offering a donation.

"We are a 501c3 non-profit, so donations are tax deductible for an Arizona Tax Credit this year. A couple can claim up to $400 that can go to us instead of the state," Freeman said.

"We're going to spend every penny that we have to put this on, so donations of any amount are needed and appreciated," said Freeman.

How you can help

• What - 2nd Annual 250,000 Community Meal Packing Event

• When - Saturday, Oct. 3 from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Includes registration and training time).

• Where - Verde Valley Fairgrounds, 800 E. Cherry St., Cottonwood, AZ 86326.

• Food packing volunteer - Must be 9 years or older. Register online at

• Service volunteer - Must be 16 years or older. Needs include traffic directors, greeters, registrars, lifters, photographers and signage. Text volunteer coordinator Gwen Kielblock at (928) 300-6493 or email

• Corporate sponsorships - Call (928).649-5772

• Donate - Online through PayPal at or by mail at:

Kids Against Hunger - Verde Valley, PO Box 371, Cottonwood, AZ 86326

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