Irondale, Rotary Club join for Harvest Pack event

Matt Hudson Students at Irondale High School portioned and packed dry food into bags for delivery to those in need Dec. 11, as part of this year’s Harvest Pack event with the New Brighton-Mounds View Rotary Club.

Matt Hudson photos Students and volunteers during the Harvest Pack event at Irondale High School aimed to pack some 33,000 packages of food for those in need.

Matt Hudson

staff writer


The dry food started in boxes stacked in the Irondale High School cafeteria.

Students funneled the food into portions, packaging and sealing them into individual bags. At the end of the production line, the bags were stuffed into boxes and sealed.

The work was done by students at the New Brighton school in the early afternoon. Irondale Principal Amy Janecek said that more than 300 were expected to lend a hand. Later in the afternoon, New Brighton-Mounds View Rotary Club members and other community volunteers put in shifts of their own.

Led and backed by the Rotary Club, the second-annual Harvest Pack event took place Dec. 11.

“This was created last year, and it went so well that we wanted to find a way to continue,” Janecek said over the din of production.

Hair nets atop the volunteers, particularly the students, who danced to the music as they worked, made for a lively atmosphere. 

The food and the event’s name come from the Minnesota nonprofit organization Harvest Pack, which produces the raw food materials that can be packaged and donated to those who need them, domestically or internationally.

The work at Irondale was possible through an $11,000 Rotary Club grant, according to Cindy Carlson, local Rotary co-president.

She said that most of the food packages will be distributed locally, but about a third will be sent to the Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, a food bank in U.S. island territory.

Packages to be sent to Puerto Rico contained dried rice and soy. Those set to be distributed locally contained oatmeal.

Local organizations to receive food will include the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf, which serves Mounds View school disrict families in need. Janecek said that student leaders wanted to include the food bank and keep it local.

“That was really coming from our students that we wanted to divide the packages,” she said.

In all, the production goal was to fill 33,000 packages.


–Matt Hudson can be reached at or 651-748-7825.

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