Volunteers Pack Meals for People in Need

Evy at the Suter Company in Sycamore, Illinois, where volunteers pack meals for people in need

“More than 6,200 children under the age of five die every day from starvation and hunger-related causes,” says Tim Suter, president and chief executive officer of the Suter Company. The company, which is based in Sycamore, Illinois, produces prepared foods.

Suter is also president of Make a Difference DKC (De Kalb County). The nonprofit organization provides meals to people in need around the world. Each November, Suter and Make a Difference DKC organize a meal-packing event.

“Make A Difference DKC is one of the largest mobile pack events in Illinois and one of the longest running in America,” Suter told me during my recent visit. The nonprofit is affiliated with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), which was founded in 1987 to provide food in 99 countries.

Across four days in November, Make a Difference DKC volunteers prepared pre-packaged meals containing protein, vitamins, and grains. The mixture of ingredients was designed by scientists at U.S.-based food companies Cargill and General Mills to meet the needs of malnourished children. 


Evy talks with Tim Suter, president and CEO of the Suter Company and president of Make a Difference DKB.


This year, more than 4,200 volunteers packed nearly 1.2 million meals, with financial support from donors. In the past 14 years, the effort has meant the delivery of an astounding 17 million meals to people in need worldwide.

“I believe we’re at our best when we serve others,” Suter said.

During my visit, hundreds of volunteers packed meals. “I hope to help people who are less fortunate than I am, to make a difference in somebody’s life,” said Riley Reynolds, 17, from Dakota, Illinois.

As Riley and other volunteers assembled meals, music played, and an announcer encouraged them.

“This is one of the most impactful things we can do for those less fortunate,” said Frank Roberts, a vice president of First National Bank of Omaha, which is an event sponsor.

When asked his favorite part of the effort, Roberts said, “Seeing all these people work together for a wonderful cause.” 


Evy visits with Make a Difference DKB staff members. 


The announcer shared milestones as volunteers cheered, packed food as quickly as possible, and danced to the music. 

When asked how kids can help people experiencing hunger, Suter said, “There are many ways to help. You can volunteer at FMSC’s permanent sites or at mobile pack events like this. In most years, there are about 300 mobile pack events throughout the U.S.” 

FMSC’s website provides information about nationwide efforts. Each meal costs 29 cents to produce, so even small donations make a big difference.

Photos courtesy of the author