Monday, November 23, 2009

'Pack-a-thon' aids Guatemalan kids

Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati.Com » Local news
Last Updated: 6:46 am | Saturday, November 21, 2009

By Mark Curnutte • • November 21, 2009
Article can be found online here.

BLUE ASH - Working two-hour shifts in teams, more than 600 volunteers Saturday assembled 200,000 meals for starving children in famine-stricken Guatemala.

From ages 3 to 85, the volunteers packed a high-protein mix of rice, dried vegetables and soy protein - one scoop at a time - through funnels and into plastic bags. They were boxed and stamped with a yellow sticker reading "Packed in Cincinnati, Ohio USA by volunteers who care." The next step is shipment by the organization Kids Against Hunger to the Central American nation.

• Photos: Pack-a-Thon

Entire families, corporate volunteers and nurses with international human relief experience were among those who worked the assembly tables in a former grocery store on Hunt Road in what organizers billed as a "pack-a-thon."

Devin Robinson, 47, a nurse at Cincinnati Children's from Burlington, scooped soy during a morning shift.

She came alone and wanted to experience the food end of humanitarian relief. She spent two weeks in 2008 working in a clinic and teaching first aid in schools in the South American nation of Peru.

"I wanted to see this and see if there was a way to make a connection," said Robinson, who plans to go back to Peru next summer with Project C.U.R.E.

Organizers hung a white board on a hook in the front of the space after a morning shift. In marker, it read 42,768 meals - the number packed in two hours.

Kids Against Hunger is a part of the Liberty Township-based A Child's Hope International, founded in May 2008. Lawrence Bergeron, former lead pastor at Mason's Hope Church, is its executive director.

"Our whole focus is the 'least of these,'" said Bergeron, who spent the day leading an information session for incoming volunteers in one corner of the building before they would go on the line. Then he'd announce a shift change over a bullhorn.

Volunteers washed their hands with waterless sanitizer and slipped on aprons, rubber gloves and hairnets. Packed boxes were sealed and stacked on wooden pallets. In the back, volunteers poured rice and other ingredients into large plastic containers that were moved to tables for volunteers to scoop.

The group has shipped its food packets to Appalachia, overseas and locally through the Freestore Foodbank. Organizers and a banner hanging in the former store - the Kroger Co. handed Bergeron the keys to the building and pays for all utilities and necessary upgrades - reminds people of their ability to make a difference: One volunteer working two hours can pack enough food to feed a child for one year.

"You could use a machine for this, but you would lose the human touch," Bergeron said. "It's great to see the community coming together, all faiths, all ages."

Keith and Lecia Holley of Loveland brought their three children - daughter, Karlin, 11, and sons, Ethan and Nolan, 8 and 6 - to work a shift as a family. They took their turns scooping ingredients into the bags, patting them flat by hand and packing them into boxes.

"It's a great family ministry," Keith Holley, 43, said. "It's a hands-on way to help the less fortunate."

Less fortunate, indeed: 52 percent of Guatemala's 13.3 million people live in poverty, according to the Latin America Herald Tribune. A government study released in February reported that 45.6 percent of Guatemalan children suffer from chronic malnutrition and that their physical growth falls below the average established by the World Health Organization.

Billie Kimbrough, an executive with the Kroger, volunteered Saturday with a co-worker.

"It's a really neat process," Kimbrough said of her first-time experience with Kids against Hunger. "When I see the tapes (in the orientation) ... No person should go hungry."

More information:
To learn more about A Child's Hope International and its Kids Against Hunger program, go to or call 513-515-2611.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chase Community Giving

Please vote for A Child's Hope International (KAH Cincinnati) to be a receipt of Chase Bank's charitable giving. Thank you!!!!

Hometown Hero

(from left to right: Larry Bergeron, Brian Ramstetter, Gary Crawford from IGA, Brian Thomas from 55KRC)

Congratulations Larry Bergeron (founder & director of Kids Against Hunger - Cincinnati) for being named 55KRC/IGA's November "Hometown Hero"!

Larry was nominated by good KAH-Cincinnati friend, Brian Ramstetter. Being selected for this award earned Kids Against Hunger - Cincinnati a donation of $550 from 55KRC and IGA as well as an on air interview on 55KRC last Wednesday!

For a recording of the interview from Wednesday, visit: 55kRC podcasts

Look for the podcast titled, "55KRC AM Show Archive 11/18/09 8AM Katherine Debrecht - Author, Chief Streicher and IGA Hometown Hero". Press the "Listen" button. To get to our interview, fast forward (the two areas pointing to the right), until the 14:29 mark. To stop fast forwarding, press the pause button and then press the same button (now it will be the play button). Brian Thomas continues to talk about Larry & KAH even after the interview until the 22:41 mark.

Pictures from the interview can be found here: 55KRC photo Album

Brian Thomas also mentioned KAH in his video blog ("Vlog") Wednesday. Go to: 55KRC Brian Thomas Vlog After a brief commercial then you should see "11-18-09 Vlog". He spends the first 60 seconds talking about Larry & KAH and then continues his political talk show.

For more information or to nominate any other deserving Hometown Hero, visit 55KRC Hometown Hero.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Search Institute / YMCA Conference

Last night, KAH-Cincinnati in collaboration with the Search Institute & the YMCA helped 140 youth pack 41,904 in only 2 hours!! We had 14 lines running at one time...a big step up from our normal 4 lines at one time. Everyone did a great job, thank you to Duke Energy, Search Institute, the YMCA, and all the youth from around the country who packed the food.

One group there last night purchased 26 black tee shirts for their team – they were that excited. In fact, their leader asked if they could go home (to CA), raise funds and send the money needed for a pallet for Africa!! How cool is that? Many of the youth didn't want to leave and even stuck around until we were completely out of ingredients. Everyone chipped in and it was a great example of teamwork.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Donations go to food relief

The Cincinnati Enquirer • October 29, 2009

A family has pledged $10,000 in matching funds to Kids Against Hunger for a special Thanksgiving effort aimed at providing hunger relief for children affected by recent natural disasters such as the tsunami in American Samoa.

If the nonprofit can raise $10,000 in donations by Nov. 21, the amount will be matched by the anonymous donors.

The money will then be used to purchase rice and other ingredients for food packets that will be assembled during four packing sessions on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Kids Against Hunger is part of A Child's Hope International, Inc., an organization founded by Liberty Township residents Larry and Elizabeth Bergeron.

To make a donation, or to volunteer for a packing session, go to

Cincinnati Enquirer article can be found here.