By ANDREW BRANCA

Daily Light Staff Writer

First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie is looking for volunteers to help in the fight against hunger.

The church has partnered with the non-profit organization Kids Against Hunger and will host a food packing party Saturday, March 29.

“The goal is to package food that will be distributed around the world in a form that can be easily used by people in any kind of community. We held an event last year at First Methodist Church where we packaged 83,000 meals,” Event Coordinator Dan Smith said. “This year on March 29 we have a goal of packaging 100,000 meals.”

According to the Kids Against Hunger website the meals that will be packaged by volunteers have been formulated by food scientists to provide a rich source of easily digestible protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins. The food also accommodates to the broad diversity of ethnic tastes and religious differences around the world.

The freeze dry food is made up of high quality white, log-grain rice, vitamin-fortified crushed soy, dehydrated blend of six vegetables and vitamin and mineral power.

The ingredients are measure out by volunteers and placed into a plastic pouch that is then sealed. The bags are specifically made from moisture-proof and odor-proof material to prevent spoilage and insect or rodent problems. The food bags are also three-ply for strength. Kids Against Hunger’s life-saving meals have a shelf life of at least three years.

Once the food is delivered it prepared by simply cooking it in boiling water for 20 minutes.

The food distributed by Kids Against Hunger go to kids in the United States and other countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Philippines, South Africa, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Indonesia.

“We have three scheduled wok shifts. The first one is from 8 a.m. -10 p.m., second one is from 10 a.m. – Noon and the last one is from Noon- 2 p.m.,” Smith said. “Our plan currently is to set up 12 lines. So there are going to 12 groups of tables with the packaging equipment on them.”

People who are interested in signing up to be a volunteer can sign up on the First United of Waxahachie website. People can also made a donation to on the website through a PayPal link. The goal for this event is to collect $25,000 in contributions from churches, organizations and individuals that will be participating in the event. The event last year raised $18,000.

Smith said they we have had people sign up in groups of 10 or 12 people, which is what takes to run a line. People who sign up individually will be placed on a packaging line where help is needed. Before starting to package food volunteers will go through a brief training session. Volunteers are advised to arrive 15 minuets early prior to the session time they sign up for.

Additional packaging times may be added if more meals need to be assembled. Volunteers are free to stay as long as they would like, but they are asked to least stay the full length of the session time that they sign up for.

The event will take place in the gym that is located in the church’s family life center. First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie is located at 505 W. Marvin Ave.

To sign up for the event go to the church’s website at www.fumcwaxahachie.org/outreach/outreach/kids-against-hunger. For more information about the kids Against Hunger organization go to its website at www.kidsagainsthunger.org.

Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at andrew.branca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.