Despite the chill, volunteers gathered at the McPherson 4-H building Saturday morning to help feed those less fortunate.
The event, called McPherson County Feeds the Starving, was organized by Numana, an El Dorado-based hunger relief organization. Volunteers packed foods like rice and beans into 70,000 vacuum-sealed meals to ship to people around the world who don't have enough food.
Cindy Daharsh, the event organizer, said this is the third packing event in McPherson County. She said she and her husband first became involved when they traveled to Haiti and saw the living conditions there.
"Haiti is a country that is very poor," Daharsh said. "The children have basically nothing, but they're happy. When you spend time with those children, you just want to make sure they have something to eat."
Daharsh said she was happy when the food packed at the first packing event went to Haiti. This year's food will go to ZwaZulu-Natal, a center in South Africa helping children whose parents have died or have HIV/AIDS.
Helping others was a common motivator among volunteers. Pat Wheeler, a returning volunteer, said she believes it's a Christian duty to serve those in need.
"It's important for all people to look out for each other," Wheeler said. "There are places in the world where they can't make enough food. It's up to the rest of us to help them."
For Roberto Mendez, a first-time volunteer, feeding others was a way of helping his neighbor, no matter how far away that neighbor might be.
"The world is getting smaller," Mendez said. "No matter where this food goes, it's helping our neighbors."
The event drew people from local schools, such as Emma Bonhomme, a French exchange student at Newton High School, and the McPherson High School football team. Bonhomme said the plenty people here enjoy enables the community to give to others.
"We have food, so we can help them," she said.
Tom Young, head coach of the McPherson High School football team, said he wants his players to be active in the community.
"The community gives us so much support. It's nice to give back," Young said while his players worked at two assembly tables. "It's a very worthy project."
Mendez said volunteering was easy when he remembered how much communities have supported him.
"Through my life, people have helped me a lot," Mendez said. "I think it's time I returned the favor."
Contact Josh Arnett by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ArnettSentinel.