The gym at First United Methodist Church in Waxahachie was buzzing with activity as volunteers worked tirelessly to battle against hunger.

Volunteers worked to assemble and package more than 110,000 meals that will help people locally and around world as part of the nonprofit Kids Against Hunger packing operation Saturday.

“What we are doing today is we are packaging 110,000 meals that are designed for people around the world with special vitamins and special mixes. Also this year, we are packing about 10,000 meals for people in the United States and on the local level,“ said Harald Hill, local level co-director for Kids Against Hunger. “Some of those will stay here in this community. It is a different mix. It is a new thing that we are doing,”

Tim Jarrell, satellite director for Kids Against Hunger Parker County, said Kids Against Hunger Cooperate introduced a new formula to be used in the United States because the original formal was designed for international starvation relief.

“We have introduced this domestic formula and changed things in the vitamins and spices. It is kind of a Latin hamburger look and taste. Most of the places internationally, where kids are starving and they need lots of salt. In the U.S. we don’t need lots of salt — if any at all. That is a big change,” Jarrell said. “So we are packaging over 10,000 meals to be distributed here in Waxahachie through the food pantries and the churches that have food pantries.”

Kids Against Hunger is a humanitarian food-aid organization with the goal of significantly reducing the number of hungry children in the USA and to feed starving children throughout the world. The packing event started at 8:30 a.m. and ran to 2:30 p.m. Volunteers were broken into three shifts.

Scattered through the church gym were several packaging stations. At the stations, volunteers would use measuring scoops to measure out the dry ingredients. These ingredients were then placed inside a bag through a funnel. The bag would then be heat sealed and packed into a box. The vitamin-fortified soy-rice meal packs have about a three-year shelf life.

Hill said planning the packaging event is a year-long process to get everything organized, but seeing it all come together makes it worth it.

This year the packaging event has seen a large response from the public.

“We needed 120 per session to fill our tables to 130 and we had signups online in the neighborhood of 150 per session. I think that we are at 170 for the next session. It has been an astronomical turnout. A lot of people have turned out to help,” Hill said.”We are talking about doing this at a little bit bigger level and a little bigger venue for next year. So we are trying to build it a little bigger every year.”

Brynley Beller, 9, was one of the many volunteers taking part in Saturday’s event by working alongside her mother Jennifer. She was working to help and package boxes.

“I just like that we are doing this for a good cause,” Brynley said. “There are just lots of kids out there that don’t have food. Kids are really lucky that get to eat food every day.”

Mike Fenton was volunteering as a table captain. His job was to make sure that tables didn’t run out of ingredients to package with.

“People have really responded and it has been great. We have a really good team. This puts the need in perspective,” Fenton said. “A lot of people go to bed hungry in the world. We can do a small part to relieve that.”

Connie Walker shared Fenton’s feelings about the importance of participating in the event.

“Every one of these packs feed six children. Our goal is to package 110,000 meal for kids everywhere. We have already passed what we did two years ago,” Walker said. “We will be here until they run out this afternoon.”

Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at andrew.branca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.