Heinz Watties staff volunteered their time to put together 100,000 meals for people in need on Saturday.

The 150 staff members gathered at the Tomoana site in Hastings to prepare meals for the Salvation Army as part of their Stop Hunger campaign.

Salvation Army emergency services national co-ordinator Dave Bennett said what Heinz Watties had achieved yesterday was "marvellous".

"The meal packs will go such a long way, going to all of the community ministries around the country and they will be handed out to people and families in need ... it is wonderful."


In light of the recent earthquake down south Mr Bennett hoped the meals, which included rice grains, soya flakes, dehydrated vegetables and micro-nutrients, would also be passed on to some of those worst-hit areas.

"We provided tea and coffee last week but things like this would be really helpful so we want some available if we can manage to get them in to places like Kaikoura, Seddon and Ward."

The Salvation Army also hoped to deliver the meals to people in Fiji but Mr Bennett said they had to work out the logistics of getting it there and making sure there were the right conditions for storage.

Heinz Watties and the Salvation Army have been in a partnership for more than 20 years and yesterday Heinz Watties chief executive Mike Pretty said it was the company's longest partnership with anybody.

Mr Bennett said this was the first time the company had done something like this for the Salvation Army and it proved to be a huge success.

"We have done things like the Watties Cans Film Festival but nothing like this before, it was a really great initiative."

The team of 150 volunteers also managed to chase down the record held in Australia for packing 100,000 meals in under three hours.

"The volunteers packed the meal in two hours thirty and they were all very chuffed, it was great to see."