INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The huge annual event called the “Million Meal Marathon” kicked off with some major changes Tuesday morning.
During the event, some 4,000 volunteers worked all morning and well into the evening inside Lucas Oil Stadium, making meals for those who are less fortunate.
The goal has always been one million meals, but during the events starting this year’s marathon, organizers bumped up the total by 250,000 more.
“You have to have a tremendous amount of energy, passion to do this,” said Indianapolis Colts Defensive Tackle Cory Redding. “This is not centered around you this is centered around starving children around the state of Indiana.”
One in five Indiana children are considered food insecure. Redding has been part of the Marathon for three years.
“Its just really cool to be apart of something bigger and really be able to give an impact,” said volunteer Krista Gartelos.
Kids Against Hunger was founded in Indiana in 2007. Through events like today’s Million Meal Marathon, they’ve packed and served 23 million meals.
“Hunger never takes a break,” said Executive Director, Jill Madinger.
But the national organization is facing criticism over mismanagement. The Indiana Chapter is now breaking away, and changing its name to Thrive 360.
“Our future is ahead of us and we needed to have a fresh start and not be linked to anything that could jeopardize the good work that we’re doing,” said Madinger.
Thrive 360 says the name change will allow them to refocus their efforts on issues facing Indiana, and for the first time all of the meals packed here are staying in the state
“Within three or five miles of anyone, there’s somebody in need who doesn’t know sometimes where their next meal is coming from,” said Founder and Board Chairman Dan Hintz.
“Its great to help the community, its great to help kids and make sure we can maybe take that 1 in 5 out,” said volunteer Matthew Gleincer.
Thrive 360 holds these events year-round. They’re held every third Saturday of the month at their headquarters. You can also organize one of the meal packs at your business. There’s more on the organization, and how to get involved here.