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Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 22, 2012

Disaster prep during fun time

100,000 emergency meals to be packed during Fair

by Jamie Altman

Volunteers are needed at the Alameda County Fair next week to pack meals to be stored in case of emergency since the Fairgrounds has been designated as a Regional Disaster Center. The Fair Association is partnering with Kids Against Hunger, an organization that packs meals and sends them to countries in need, such as Haiti and the Philippines.

In the event of an emergency, the Fairgrounds site is prepared with "everything but food," said Sherri Leal, director of Kids Against Hunger, which has its headquarters on Quarry Lane. Her group will pack at least 100,000 Kids Against Hunger "miracle meals" from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday, June 27, at the Fairgrounds.

The meals are "miraculous" because each contains four food items and vital nutrients: rice, soy, vegetables and 21 minerals and vitamins.

"One cup has the same amount of protein as a 3-ounce steak," Leal said.

The ingredients need to be boiled before they are served, but because water becomes sterile when boiled, the ingredients can be cooked in contaminated water, she noted.

There are a few ways to participate in the packing event.

The first is to bring any of the four food items to the Fairgrounds to be donated to the Alameda County Community Food Bank for packing meals. Donors will receive free admission to the Fair on June 27.

Shifts begin every hour on the hour, and 100 volunteers are required each hour to help pack meals. Also, table hosts to work three-hour shifts are needed to explain how to pack the meals.

There are 10 people per station, each with the four ingredients and a funnel that connects them all. The packing process works as an assembly line; volunteers mix the ingredients, put bags on the funnels, and weigh and box the finished products.

Although the hard work from packing all these meals will only pay off in the event of an emergency, Leal predicts that volunteers will know they are doing something worthwhile.

"I just plan the events; it's the volunteers who deserve the hand clap," Leal said.

To volunteer, go to www.kidsagainsthungerpleasanton.org or call 400-7201.