The group started small, organizing and overseeing events where volunteers packed meals for the needy in a small building in Greenwood.
Larry Moore and his team sent those nutrient-dense meals off to developing nations and local schools as a satellite for a national organization called Kids Against Hunger.
Now the Center Grove area resident has branched off on his own, starting a new nonprofit group called Pack Away Hunger, which is packing millions of meals a year by getting churches, schools and civic groups to raise money and prepare meals for the needy.
Pack Away Hunger is extending its reach. Colleges and churches in other states have gotten involved in the organization, which is housed in Beech Grove. College students in Ohio recently raised enough money for more than 41,000 meals, and organizers are planning more packing events in Ohio and Kentucky.
Pack Away Hunger organizes groups of volunteers to raise money and packs a meals of rice, dried veggies and protein powder that can be cooked and eaten. Their 27-cent meals go to families in Haiti, Guatemala and local schools to help feed children who need food.
Each group that volunteers to raise money and pack meals for Pack Away Hunger can decide where to send the meals, with some staying local and supplementing weekend feeding programs at area schools.
In total, food for 3.5 million people has been packed since the nonprofit started in November 2014, said Moore, executive director of the organization.
Moore was part of a satellite office of Kids Against Hunger, a national organization that also packs meals for hungry families around the world. Their partnership started in 2009.
Moore and his team found another recipe for the packed foods. They believed their recipe, featuring 21 vitamins and minerals, was more nutritional than the recipe Kids Against Hunger was using, he said.
Using the new recipe meant they would have to form their own nonprofit separate from Kids Against Hunger.
Now Moore and his team are taking what they learned from Kids Against Hunger and are building and growing their own nonprofit.
Most of their packing events are local, where students and church groups have raised the money and volunteered to pack the meals, said Moore.
“We have always had this mobile mentality, to go where the people are,” he said.
And they have.
Julie Robinson, associate director of community outreach at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio, learned about Pack Away Hunger through Mission Guatemala, a nonprofit organization that works to help the people of Guatemala.
Students, faculty and staff recently packed 41,040 meals through Pack Away Hunger with most of their meals going to Guatemala. Some stayed around their campus near Cleveland, Ohio.
The Cleveland, Ohio area doesn’t have a service organization similar to Pack Away Hunger, and Robinson and students wanted to find a way to send food to Guatemala.
“We thought it was an opportunity to do something different,” she said. “The volunteers felt really engaged.”
Colleges in Ohio packed 135,000 meals through Pack Away Hunger.
Local volunteers are still engaged, though.
The National Junior Honor Society of Clark-Pleasant Middle School raised more than $2,000 to pack about 8,000 meals in December. Students wanted to find a way to help needy families and raising money for Pack Away Hunger is a way for students to help, honor society sponsor Sue Galloway said.
“Hunger is everywhere. We tend to take food for granted,” she said.
Pack Away Hunger is a non-profit organization in Beech Grove.
They organize meal packing events where volunteers raise money and pack meals that go to Haiti and Guatemala. Meals can also stay in the community by going to local schools to help with weekend feeding programs.
To donate: Go to packawayhunger.org and click “donate.”
To sponsor a packing event: Go to the website and click “sponsor an event.”