By Lauren Reiken

Balance Institute of Gymnastics (BIG) in Burr Ridge, Ill., shut its doors over the June 24-26 weekend and turned into a mobile food packing unit to host their Second Annual BIG Haiti Project. With approximately 2,000 volunteers, BIG, in conjunction with the Clarendon Hills Men’s Parish and Feed My Starving Children, packed 404,352 meals which will feed 1,108 children for an entire year.

All of the meals packed at this event will be sent to Haiti to help the kids who are still struggling after the devastating earthquake that hit in January of 2010. These meals are “hope” packaged in a box for many children and families who have no where else to turn.

The volunteers who came and participated in this event, worked in two-hour shifts and each shift provided enough meals to feed about 120 kids for a year. At the beginning of each shift, volunteers sat through an orientation led by the Feed My Starving Children staff. This orientation informed the volunteers of where their donations go and how the food is distributed around the world.

When packing, everyone was separated into groups where each person had a specific duty to perform. The goal of each group was to pack about 30 meals in the given time. Some people had the task of scooping chicken flavoring, vegetables, soy and rice into pre-labeled bags, while others had the job of weighing each bag, sealing them, and packing boxes.

Bob Elliott, Steve Dockery, and Chris Hughes did an outstanding job putting this fundraiser together; they exceeded their goal of raising $77,000. They also were great motivators during the entire event. Every person who came out and volunteered his/her time, saved a child’s life and that is an accomplishment that is well worth some praise. Balance Institute of Gymnastics is proud to say that they were a part of this event and is excited for next year’s event.