The Bishop's Round-Up for Hunger started out as a project for adults, whether it was boxing up donated foods or getting the materials to agencies in need.
Now it's all about the kids.
Some 225 youths piled into the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds early Saturday morning, lending their enthusiasm, optimism and - perhaps most of all - endurance to the 31st annual edition of the massive donation effort driven by 330 participating United Methodist churches in eastern Kansas.
Forming their own human assembly lines, the teens spent their day unloading thousands of boxes of donated items into empty animal barns, then reloading the materials - packaged foods, health kits, baby-care supplies, school kits, bedding, toys, clothes and more - back into trucks, vans and other vehicles for delivery to recipient agencies.
By lunchtime they'd moved more rounded-up items than ever before, part of a record haul estimated to be worth $306,000 and one expected to rise to $440,000 by the time the books are closed on the effort at year's end.
"It feels good, sort of like Christmas," said Jake Hacker, a Blue Valley High School sophomore moving cases of ramen noodles, peanut butter jars and cans of corn into a waiting truck. "You look in the boxes and see what people are going to get. It's definitely stuff people can use for the holidays."
All the labor goes to help a variety of agencies and services, both here and abroad. Among the 30 agencies receiving immediate assistance were three in Lawrence: Penn House, Ballard Community Center and ECKAN. Monetary donations will assist several Kansas programs, plus hunger-fighting efforts in Haiti and Mexico.
Nadine Yeakey, the event's chairwoman, was among the adult volunteers who had put on the first round-up, back 31 years ago at the old fairgrounds in Topeka. Now in its 25th year in Lawrence, the round-up continues to have a strong stable of adult volunteers, but the older set is happy to share the work with youthful helpers.
Anything to get the job done.
"We know there's going to be people having food this week, and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner," said Yeakey, sitting behind a table in Building 21, keeping weight off a surgically replaced knee. "It feels good."