Owensville High School’s FFA chapter and a graduate of the program are working together to bring the “Meals of Hope” program to the community with the goal of packing 20,000 units …
Owensville High School’s FFA chapter and a graduate of the program are working together to bring the “Meals of Hope” program to the community with the goal of packing 20,000 units of food stocks.
Each meal box costs approximately 25 cents to package, according to Brian La Valle, an American Family Insurance agent in Fenton,Mo., and 1977 graduate of OHS. Each meal package contains the minimum daily nutritional requirements of protein to feed a family of four.
Meals include fortified bean and rice casserole, a fortified macaroni and cheese meal, a fortified soy chicken, vegetable and rice dinner, and a fortified cinnamon, sugar, diced apple oatmeal.
La Valle fondly recalls his days in the OHS FFA program and decided he wanted to bring a program he has helped with to the Owensville community. He hopes to raise $5,000 to offset costs of the food stocks and packaging and will help organize a packing event later this year.
“As you get older, you ask yourself, ‘can I make a difference. Help a little bit,’” said La Valle.
The OHS FFA chapter will host a trivia night and pie auction starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at White Mule Winery. Cost is $10 per person. Those who plan to participate should RSVP to the Owensville Agriculture Education program by emailing FFA advisor Sherry Byram at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second event is a buffet-style fried chicken and “old-fashioned pot roast” dinner along with the fixings, served from 6 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at White Mule. For tickets, contact the Owensville FFA.
La Valle has enlisted the help of local farmer Jason Kopp for his agency which specializes in insurance products for the agricultural community along with regular policies. American Family Insurance was a sponsor of a meal packing project during the Missouri State Fair where FFA members from across the state packaged up 121,000 meals in one day.
“It is the goal to take the State Fair concept and bring it home to our communities,” La Valle said. “It is no secret that Owensville High is my alum and I am also a disciple of the FFA organization too.”
He hopes to schedule the packing portion of the project some time in April. Volunteers from the FFA program and other school and community organizations will be approached about helping.
“We will utilize the food stuffs and packaging materials purchased from Meals of Hope,”
he said. “This service work that the FFA student body will do for our community will have far ranging effects since all the packed food will stay in the community.”
La Valle noted the mission of Meals of Hope is “to inspire and empower communities to come together to end hunger” and added, “We believe it is our job to feed people.”
Meals of Hope began as a food packing organization — the only food packing organization with a priority on keeping the food packed within the United States. The organization developed five meals specifically designed for the American palate with added vitamins, minerals and proteins to supplement an unbalanced diet.
Most of the packed meals are donated to the Feeding America Food Bank Network. More than 25,000 volunteers and 13 full and part time staff members assist Meals of Hope in achieving its mission.
Meals of Hope will bring in their equipment and supplies to Owensville High School at a date to be determined later and Owensville FFA members and other volunteers they enlist will pack the meals.
According to Meals for Hope, packages are “designed to address the need for an economical, nutritious solution to aid in the fight against hunger. Each bag contains enough food to provide six to eight meals. In only two hours each person will generally pack around 60 bags.”
Packages are intended to be used locally although they can be designated for distribution to Haiti or the Bahamas.