Rolling River 4-H Club Turning Ideas Into Action

Feed My Starving Children

Article by Allison Seusse, Staff Writer for the N'West Iowa REVIEW, Oct. 13, 2012

Kelci Kooima has opened up a lot since joining Rock Valley’s Rolling River 4-H Club.  Once shy and reserved, she has blossomed into someone who is comfortable sharing her unique experiences traveling to Haiti for a mission trip in November 2010 and March 2012.

When the 14-year-old and her family went to Haiti, she noticed trucks pulling in front of an orphanage where they were volunteering and unloading boxes of food provided by Feed My Starving Children.

Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization dedicated to providing specially formulated meals to prevent malnourishment in children.  The meal are shipped to 70 poor countries around the globe.

Rolling River 4-H Club — led by Kelci’s mom, Koni Kooima — assisted Feed My Starving Children with helping pack bags filled with chicken flavoring, dried vegetables, soy and rice on

Tuesday evening as part of the group’s regular monthly meeting. Kelci opted to do a project about Feed My Starving Children for her most recent 4-H presentation at this summer’s Sioux County Youth Fair, and could share with the 45 other members of Rolling River 4-H Club how the organization impacted real starving children.

“I wanted people to know what Feed My Starving Children was about and how it helped others and what a good organization it was,” Kelci said.  The volunteers from Rolling River 4-H Club gathered at C&J Construction in Rock Valley and scooped spoonsful of rice, soy, vegetables and chicken. Each ingredient, which offers sustenance, essential vitamins and minerals, was packed into a small plastic bag and sealed. Once completed, each bag weighed between 380-400 grams. Upon packing one box of bags, the 4-H’ers recited a cheer: “Chicken, veggies, soy, rice — feeding kids is really nice.”

“We want 4-H to be a fun and positive experience, but our hope is that we can instill in the kids a sense of wanting to be active in our community as well as outside the borders of Sioux County,” Koni said. “We want them to have a passion for helping those who are less fortunate while developing skills that they can use for the rest of their life.”

Those involved in Rolling Rock 4-H Club said they have learned a lot about being compassionate and caring for others outside of Sioux County, which some members suspected they would not have the opportunity to do otherwise.

“Helping others — you don’t get paid for it, but it’s fun,” said 11-year-old Chloe Slaughter.  “You get to spend time with your friends.”  For 14-year-old Hope DeRuyter, getting involved with the organization has helped her learn responsibility and patience.  “It makes me feel like I can make a difference,” she said.  Her 11-year-old sister, Emily, agreed.  “It makes me feel good that I’m making difference in the world,” Emily said.

Rolling River 4-H Club next will take on a service project for Love INC, a Christian ministry that assists needy families.  The 4-H club will put together care packages and deliver the gifts for Christmas at its meeting next month.

“4-H is more than just winning a ribbon at the fair. Our hope is that we instill in them a sense of wanting to be an active part of our community, as well as outside the borders of Sioux County, by giving of their time and talents,” Koni said. “We want them to have a passion of helping those that are less fortunate while developing leadership skills that can be used for the rest of their life.”

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