Meals from the Heartland is our fifth and final featured Des Moines finalist in the 100 Year, $100k Office Makeover Contest. Founded in 2007 as a single food-packaging event, Meals from the Heartland aspires to empower people to “save the starving,” and to alleviate life-threatening hunger through education, engagement and feeding. Answers provided by Susan Bunz, Executive Director for Meals from the Heartland.
To vote for the Des Moines winner of the office makeover contest, click here!
Q: Why do you need an office makeover?
A: Meals from the Heartland celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. We have been in our building, which includes a packaging center and training room in addition to office space, for approximately four years. At the time we moved in to our building, we had four employees. Today we have 11. All of the walling for our cubes was donated and put in place four years ago and now we have run out of space. We desperately need a new configuration! Also could use chairs for our training room!
Q: How do you devote ethical business practices to fulfilling your mission?
A: The mission of meals from the heartland is to empower people to save the starving. We engaged over 75,000 volunteers last year and packaged 23.3 million meals that were used to feed people in central Iowa as well as children in schools and orphanages in twelve countries around the world. The meals are delivered to local food banks through a Unite2Feed partnership and are combined with ingredients to make healthy meals. These meals are emergency food relief for any person who uses a food pantry. We package six days a week at our packaging center and engage people all over the state of Iowa. All of the work we do is focused on feeding the hungry. And $.93 of every dollar donated goes to this process.
Q: What are some positive examples of your influence on the community?
A: We engage with people all over Iowa. We do this through our mobile events – where we go out to schools, churches, businesses and communities and conduct packaging events and by engaging with people right here at our packaging center in West Des Moines. We also work in approximately 14 senior living facilities where we take bags and labels to engage senior citizens who are looking for a way to give back. They do this by helping to label our bags. We additionally work with special needs groups who come to our office and label bags. We give people an opportunity to give back to their communities in a very visible way. When someone attends one of our packaging shifts, they can leave knowing that they have packaged enough food to feed 400 people. Our goal is to give people in our community a heart for giving back!
Q: Please demonstrate your leadership.
A: We are a leader locally in feeding the hungry. We work collaboratively with our food banks to ensure that the hungry in our community will have food. Additionally, we set a daily, visible example of the importance of thinking of others’ needs and giving back to the community we live in. We also set an example of thinking of others beyond our borders. Understanding that many do not have what we have. We do this by talking to our packagers about hunger around the world and ensuring that children in countries around the world are getting a daily meal, when otherwise, they would likely not have one. We will continue to advocate for the less fortunate and do what we can to help.