Koula Kanne celebrated Mother's Day one day early.
Instead of brunching on eggs Benedict at home or dining on petit filet at a crowded restaurant, the Grayslake woman, along with her husband, two daughters and their husbands, and three grandchildren, helped feed starving children on the other side of the world.
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She and her family were among nearly 500 volunteers who worked throughout the day Saturday assembling 100,000 bags of fortified soy, rice, powdered chicken and vegetables. The meals, assembled in the gym at the East Lake Academy in Lake Forest, will be shipped to Asia, Africa or Latin America via the Feed My Starving Children organization. Feed My Starving Children is a nonprofit Christian organization committed to nourishing desperately hungry children in 70 countries.
"This is what she wanted for Mother's Day; she wanted us all to get together and do this," said daughter Zacho Moberg of Vernon Hills.
"As a mother, it's nice to help other mothers' kids," added Kanne, a former nutritionist.
Working in two-hour shifts, the volunteers -- from toddlers to grandparents -- scooped, weighed, sealed and packed the meals. Other volunteers applied "use by" stickers to the bags and still others replenished ingredients and hauled packed boxes (each box contained 36 bags) to awaiting pallets that would be loaded onto a truck.
Rob Lindemann, a father with two daughters at the school (and a son who will attend there in the fall) organized the volunteer event, called a "MobilePack."
"I had done this in Aurora, where Feed My Starving Children is based, and thought it would be great to get to do it out by us," said Lindemann, whose business, Lindemann Chimney Co., helped raise money for the effort. Lindemann said he raised $21,000 in three to four months to cover the cost of bringing the operation to Lake Forest.
"We spread the word all over the community," he said.
Pastor Joe Chong of Grace Church in Wheeling showed up with teacher Yoony Ha and three fifth grade girls. Before too long their assembly line was humming along and had filled it's first box.
Corey Barrette, MobilePack supervisor for Feed My Starving Children, said he expected the event to yield 504 boxes.
"I did this before at school and it was fun," said Linda Kim, one of Ha's students. "It's nice to know I'm helping other people."