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'Out of the kindness of their hearts'
Bernie Roidt of Monroe, a volunteer from the Monroe Bible Church pours grain into a container during a meal-packing event at Monroe Middle School April 21 to send food to children in Haiti. The Monroe Bible Church and Juda Zion United Methodist Church together raised almost $8,500 for the meals, which included grain, rice, soy and vitamin packets. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - Thanks to collaboration by Monroe Bible Church and Juda Zion United Methodist Church, fewer children in Haiti will be going to sleep hungry.

About 86 people from different age groups showed up ready to package food for children in Haiti at the Monroe Middle School gym Saturday.

"It's exciting that people are willing to give up their time to pack and help hungry children that they'll never meet or know," said Lynne Hardy of Monroe, one of the coordinators of the event with Monroe Bible Church.

Through donations from church members, the groups raised over $8,000 to provide more than 31,000 meals to ship to children in Haiti.

This was the fourth year Juda Zion United Methodist Church has sent food to children overseas and the third year for Monroe Bible Church, but this was the first year the two organizations have combined their efforts.

Kids Around the World, a Christian organization based out of Rockford, Illinois, that helps provide food and education to impoverished children overseas, will be sending the food to Haiti.

Andrew Martin, director of meal packing for Kids Around the World, said the organization will distribute the food to 67 schools and 80 church sites and will feed about 5,000 children.

"For a lot of them, it's the only reason they go to school or the only reason they go to church, so they can get one nutritious meal a day," Martin said.

Volunteers measured and packed soy, rice, dried vegetables and vitamin packets.

Julie David of Juda, the Sunday school superintendent at Juda Zion, said the best part about the event was watching volunteers, young and old, work together.

"I think it's amazing that such a small community brought everyone together and so many people wanted to help," Davis said. "They're doing it out of the kindness of their hearts."

Hardy said next year she's hoping even more of the community will get involved and more churches will join the effort.