CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – One bag of beans and rice can fill a hungry stomach.

Twenty-two thousand bags of beans and rice, however, can help hundreds of families in our area get through a lean time.

“The biggest issue we hear from people in the city is through the week they do OK, it’s on the weekend when the challenge occurs… Is the food sustainable? Is there enough of it?” Church on the Heights Pastor Kevin McIntyre said.

With summer coming up, many children will lose easy access to good food that they get from school.

Food insecurity is very real in Cuyahoga County.

“One in 10 people in this county are food insecure, and not knowing where your next meal will come from is hard to wrap your head around,” Pack Shack coordinator Grant Clemons said.  

The Pack Shack is a nonprofit that travels around the country, coordinating events to help pack thousands of meals for those in need.

A lot of people understand the problem and a lot of people want to change it. To help meet that need, it’s time to throw a party — a packing party.

Dozens of volunteers create bags of beans and rice dinners that will go to feed families in both Cuyahoga and Summit counties 

It’s simple. There are scoopers, packers, and sealers. Each box will be filled with healthy meals that will go to food banks, shelters and schools in our area.

The volunteers from Reaching Heights, John Carroll University and the Steak Club Foundation — a group of St. Ignatius grads — say it’s about giving back because many folks need this now.

“You go to a Jesuit High School, you learn to appreciate everything you’re given, but figuring out what you can do to use your gifts and talents for the greater good of society,” Steak Club co-founder Nolan James said.

Many of the meals will stay in Cleveland Heights. The Church on the Heights has partnerships with several local schools.

Others will go to the Akron area to help out families there.

A bag of beans can fill an empty stomach, but a community working together can solve many problems.

“We’re just neighbors helping neighbors,”  Pastor McIntyre said.