Volunteers from across northeast Indiana teamed up Wednesday morning, Oct. 19, at Easterseals Arc’s Projects Drive building to package meals for the people of Ukraine.
By the time they finished, they had packed more than a half-ton of food for shipment to Ukraine. The meal-packing event with Project 216 aimed to pack as much nutritional value as possible into 14-ounce packages.
Volunteers from Easterseals Arc, Easterseals Passages and Easterseals RISE, joined by other community volunteers, worked for about two hours to combine rice, soy protein, dried vegetables and supplemental vitamins and minerals.
About 110 volunteers helped package the meals, according to Ashley Gettys, Easterseals Arc director of day services and community supports. Gettys led the organizing for Easterseals Arc network volunteers.
The volunteers worked in assembly lines of eight or 10 people each. They combined the rice, soy protein, vegetables and nutritional supplements into heavy plastic bags. They heat-sealed each plastic bag and stowed them in easy-to-handle cardboard cubes, 36 packages in each box.
Ellen Mann, spokeswoman for Project 216, said the food packaging at Easterseals Arc was supported by an anonymous donor and ADM, an agribusiness corporation that provided the soy protein. Project 216 is a Fort Wayne group dedicated to providing food for people in need around the world.
Each small package will bring a large dose of nutrition to Ukraine’s population, which has been pummeled by months of warfare. Each of the six servings in a package includes 12 grams of protein and 210 calories.
The food is designed to be cooked in boiling water. When cooked, the dried carrots, onions, tomatoes, celery, kale and bell peppers will expand and add color and nutrients to the rice and soy protein in the packets.