Students team up with food bank to combat rising food insecurity

Freshman Amy Nguyen packs up donated food items at the Kansas Food Bank event on Sept. 2.

To get ahead of the long Labor Day weekend, Community Service Board members united with Kansas Food Bank volunteers to prepare and package snack packs for hundreds of underprivileged children in the Wichita area.

Food Bank Fridays is a monthly community service event hosted by the group that aims to lessen the growing food insecurity that impacts thousands state-wide..

A small handful of volunteers spent two and a half hours on Sept. 2 packing bags with snacks like pudding, peanut butter, cereals, granola bars and chili to help school children make it through the holiday weekend. Amongst them was CSB President Michaela Lecki, who believes that it’s more important now than ever to lend a hand to those facing food, housing, medical and educational insecurity.

“I think it’s important to show that there are always people around you that need help and are struggling, and it’s so easy for you, who may not be struggling at that time, to do something for them,” Lecki said. “I want to be able to show our members and volunteers that do come to our meetings how easy it is and how big of a difference you can make when you have eight people doing a service project.”

WSU volunteers were able to pack hundreds of snack bags with the help of long-time volunteers like Barb Swain. 

Swain, a former Washington Elementary teacher and WSU alumni, was inspired to volunteer at the food bank seven years ago after seeing her students experience food poverty firsthand. Many of the packs Swain prepared with the CSB members will go directly to children she used to teach. 

“Other families may not have the resources (college students) are getting,” Swain said. “So doing volunteer work, whether it’s here or the YMCA, shows students it’s good to give back.”

For CBS volunteers like Amy Nguyen, a freshman business administration major, participating in community service events is just one of the ways she chooses to give back to those in need whilst also preparing herself for her future endeavors.

“Getting out in the community, helping people and being really hands-on with the community is really important,” Nguyen said. “With my major, I want to continue my food advocacy work and do nonprofit work.”

The Community Service Board meets every Thursday in the Rhatigan Student Center at 3:30 p.m. Students are invited to attend meetings or sign up for service activities via to help drive lasting change that can impact Wichita’s most vulnerable populations.