Fourteenth annual Food for Kidz packing event was held Sunday, Nov. 14 at the Sleepy Eye Event Center.

A service project that started as Brianna (Mages) Jensen’s high school honor society project in 2003, has continued annually and just hit a milestone. Volunteers gathered at the Sleepy Eye Event Center on Sunday, Nov. 12 to pack meals for Food for Kidz, for the 14th time, and reached the one million meal mark for Sleepy Eye.

Jensen said she read about the project, which originated in Stewart, and told her dad, Rick Mages, she wanted to do it in Sleepy Eye. She went to the Lions Club and secured a donation to help fund the effort; kids and adults from Sleepy Eye area schools and churches were recruited to help pack the meals. That honor society project turned into an annual event for the community.

Jensen’s parents and aunts work to keep Food for Kidz going in Sleepy Eye. They said this year they needed to reach a minimum of 66,000 meals to reach the one million milestone. “We had a wonderful turn out of over 230 volunteers and we packaged 79,000 meals for hungry children who live here and around the world,” said Deb Fischer, in a press release following the event.

The meals included 3,000 to 4,000 packages of Instant Cinnamon Oatmeal and Nutritious Rice that stay in the Brown County area for local distribution. The committee has received much appreciated financial support of $7,000 so far and said continued donations are still needed. Donors may put their labeled “Food For Kidz” donation in their church collection basket or mail it to Rick Mages, 508 Prescott St. NE, Sleepy Eye, MN 56085.

In addition to the volunteers, who worked in two shifts on Sunday, the Student Councils and Honor Societies of St. Mary’s and Sleepy Eye high schools helped set-up and take-down on Sunday at the Event Center. The work stations were set up in the south third of the facility, with direct access to the loading dock through the interior overhead door. They covered the carpet with plastic and cardboard to keep the floor clean. Mages said the space worked out very well.