Our account managers are actively engaged in their communities across North America. Joni Juergens is one such account manager, who recently completed her 14th year with Food for Kids. Food for Kidz is an international mobile food packing organization based in Stewart, Minnesota. This organization hosts approximately 150 events around the United States to pack roughly 10 million meals for children in local communities and around the world.
Joni Juergens, Patcraft Wisconsin Account Manager, is very passionate to be a part of this organization and we are proud to share the story of how she transforms her community.
Joni is the volunteer coordinator who handles public relations for the Food for Kidz event in Waunakee, Wisconsin. Joni and the team began holding the event in Waunakee 14 years ago. Joni has been on the committee since it started. The team sets up workstations in an assembly line style to put together meals. The primary meal is rice and red beans (or soybeans), dried vegetables and a protein powder. The meal has been designed for complete nutrition. A second meal that the Waunakee team developed is a fortified oatmeal breakfast. This was created based on the needs of local food pantries in their area.
This year the event was hosted on October 20th with approximately 2000 volunteers over the course of 9 hours. The volunteers brought over 28 tons of food into their high school gym and they completed 504,000 meals by the end of the day. Joni and the team raised about $80,000 prior to the event to cover the cost of the food. At the end of the day, Dane County Community Action Coalition picked up 150,000 of the oatmeal breakfasts for distribution to local food pantries. Feed My Lambs, a school and orphanage in Haiti, will receive 250,000 meals of the red beans and rice.
Feed My Lambs and the Waunakee team have created a partnership through Food for Kidz. The partnership with Feed My Lambs has increased and they now have volunteers follow the food to Haiti each year and help locally. The children who come to Feed My Lambs for school attend Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Most of those children have nothing to eat the days they are not in school. Feed My Lambs can now send the children home with meals so their families have food to eat on the days school is not in session. The Waunakee team has also sent agronomists to help start a small farm to add fresh food to their meals.
The balance of the food from the Waunakee event went back to Food for Kidz's parent organization in Minnesota and will be distributed where ever the need is greatest in the world. Over the 14 years, that this event has been held in Waunakee, Wisconsin, 3.4 million meals have been made.
"This is a small way I can contribute to my community. We transform the lives of our volunteers, who put the needs of hungry children ahead of their own. We also hope to transform the lives of those who enjoy the nutritious food," says Joni. "Every year at our event, there is a point in the day when I become overwhelmed by gratitude for the work of so many people who want to transform the lives of others that they will never meet. This whole organization is love in action, and it is a privilege to be involved in it."
Learn more about the Food for Kidz organization >