OMMS students pack meals for those in need

Published 10:53 am Friday, October 22, 2021

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NORTH SHELBY – The Oak Mountain Middle School gym was abuzz with activity on Wednesday, Oct. 20, but instead of their usual P.E. classes, students were participating in a meal packing party.

With upbeat music playing over the loudspeakers, students rotated through the gym in shifts and assembled 10,000 meals total to be distributed to impoverished areas worldwide during a Feed the Need event.

OMMS students raised $30,000 with The Champion Group to host the event for the first time this year.

“It’s really been amazing to watch our students take part in packaging all these meals and actually seeing the results and feeling the results of their efforts,” OMMS Principal Dr. Larry Haynes said. “We want to continue that legacy of giving back to our community and instilling that in our students. It’s been a great day.”

Of the 10,000 meals students packed, 2,500 will go to a ministry called Sozo Children, which provides care for children in Uganda, Africa. The other meals will go to local nonprofit Oak Mountain Missions, along with orphanages and impoverished families in Haiti.

According to Walter Kearns, director of strategy with The Champion Group, each meal package is comprised of rice, pinto beans, dehydrated vegetables and a mixture of 19 essential vitamins and minerals.

“It is designed to be a perfectly balanced meal for a malnourished individual,” Kearns said, adding each package contains about six meals, enough to feed a whole family. “A lot of times, that will be their meal for the day.”

Kearns said the packing party was an enjoyable way to engage students in a service project with a far-reaching impact.

“We have a mission and passion to create world changers,” Kearns said. “We’re trying to help schools have a different (fundraising) option rather than the low-yield profit sale.”

Kearns, an Indian Springs resident, said students’ reactions to the event reinforced its importance, not only for the recipients of the meals, but also for the students as they took responsibility in the act of service.

One student was impressed the meals would reach nearly 10,000 people.

“It was exciting to see their energy as they engaged,” he said. “They just got so excited.”

Haynes said the event was originally scheduled for the spring, but a tornado that ravaged much of the northwestern portion of Shelby County in late March resulted in postponement as the OMMS building underwent repairs.

For more information about Feed the Need, visit