Twelve conference office staff members joined hundreds of other volunteers Thursday in downtown Des Moines for Meals from the Heartland’s 12th annual Hunger Fight.

Meals from the Heartland is a nonprofit organization in West Des Moines dedicated to feeding the hungry in Iowa, the United States and around the world. Since 2008 they have provided over 130 million meals to people in need. During this year’s Hunger Fight, which started Tuesday and ends Saturday, countless volunteers from area businesses, schools, churches, community organizations and individuals will package millions of meals.

In just two hours, conference staff packaged 1,368 Hearty Packs, a meal containing rice, soy protein, vitamins, minerals and vegetables. Those packages will provide 8,208 servings of prepared food. It was the second time the conference office has participated in the event.

Conference volunteers each do their part to assemble, package, seal and box a Hearty Pack. Pictured here are Dean Coridan, Gail Coridan, Joe Allison, Scott Haakenson and Peggy Wagley. (Photo: Randy Harmdierks)

“It’s great to spend time together outside of the office for such a great cause,” said Heather Perry, human resources and risk management director. “Not only does it foster closer relationships within the office, but it’s meeting an urgent need in the community.”

Karen McCarthy, administrative assistant for the education department, is heavily involved with a mobile food pantry operated by Adventist churches in the Des Moines area. “Helping people who don’t have enough to eat is something I’m really passionate about,” she said. “It was great to see so many people from so many different places working together today to meet such a vital need.”

The Adventist-operated mobile food pantry, Around Town Mobile Food Pantry, distributes bags of food to the homes of over 500 people in the Des Moines area each month. For more information, visit

Meals from the Heartland hopes to package 4 million meals during this year’s four-day event. To learn more about Meals from the Heartland, visit