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Employees Pack Meals for Starving Children

Top Photo: Patty Cabler (far left), wife of equipment manager Jim Cabler, along with Amy Kreye (looking at camera) and Michelle Johnson (holding cup). Above, from left: Karen Karsseboom, Hal Harrison, Melody Stittsworth (behind in red), Polly Harrison and Drew Kelley.

Some RailWorks employees working in Minnesota and their families recently learned what a big impact they could make with just a little effort.

A group of 21 employees from the RailWorks Track Systems’ Lakeville and Central Corridor Light Rail Transit offices along with some family members took time prior to the company holiday party to package food for starving children. In two hours, the RailWorks group, along with about 70 others volunteering at the same time, assembled thousands of meals bound for the Philippines.

Michelle Johnson, administrative assistant for Business Development, organized the endeavor at the Eagan, Minn. packing site of Feed My Starving Children, an organization she’s visited several times with the Girl Scout troop that she leads. “I suggested we do this as part of our party to give back some of the blessings we all receive at this time of year,” Michelle said. “The idea was met with interest, and Scott Brace (president, RailWorks Track Systems) said, ‘Yes, plan it!’ so I did.”

Michelle was pleased with her team, which worked to help fill nearly 3,300 bags with the vitamin-enriched ingredients for 19,640 porridge-like meals. “This is enough to feed more than 50 kids for a year,” she said. The nutrient-rich mixture of rice, soy, dried vegetables and other ingredients was developed by major food companies including RailWorks customer Cargill, and General Mills.

Besides Michelle, the Lakeville office staff and family attending were Scott Brace and his wife, Maggie; Steve Kadrlik, area manager, with his wife, Nancy; Hal Harrison, assistant area manager, with wife Polly and daughter Hallie; Karen Karsseboom, administrative assistant; Melody Stittsworth, office manager; Patty Cabler, spouse of equipment manager Jim Cabler; Pat Wall, mechanic; and Pete Brace, driver. Attending from the CCLRT office: Bill King, vice president, major projects, and Terry King, office manager, both out of the Sewell, N.J. office; JoAnn Wilson, office manager, and husband Bob; Alan Thomason, superintendent; Amy Kreye, project engineer; Andy Caulum, project engineer; and Drew Kelley, project manager.

Terry King said the offsite teamwork was rewarding. “Each one of us had a specific job assembling the pouches. We worked as a team in an assembly-line fashion, and our time passed by quickly. When it was all over, we all felt good about how much many children we will help feed with so little effort. It really was a great experience I hope we can continue.”

Michelle, too, hopes that the same type of charity shown in 2010 can become an ongoing part of the annual holiday office function.

Feed My Starving Children (www.fmsc.org) was founded in 1987. The not-for-profit distributed an estimated 127 million meals in 2010.