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Washburn Students to Open On-Campus Food Pantry Nov. 17

11/11/14 07:11 am CST
"The idea for food pantry for college students was generated and it just made sense to me, particularly because I had witnessed my classmates struggle for food"

Washburn University students will kick off national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week on Monday, Nov. 17 by opening an on-campus food pantry. A ribbon cutting event will begin at 11 a.m. in the lobby of the Henderson Learning Resources Center, followed by tours of the space.

The pantry, known as The Exchange, is the first new piece of a student-driven hunger-alleviation and nutrition education initiative known as Bods Feeding Bods. Kelsey Rose, a senior psychology major from Wichita, conceived of the food pantry last year and the effort has grown into the overall initiative.

The idea for The Exchange grew out of a discussion Rose had with friends about the difference $100 could make.

“The idea for food pantry for college students was generated and it just made sense to me, particularly because I had witnessed my classmates struggle for food,” she said. “As I learned about poverty through the AmeriCorps Bonner program, I became motivated to make this idea a reality.”

Rose found a faculty mentor and began working on the project. She surveyed Washburn students during fall semester 2013 and found 45 percent of respondents said they cut the portion of meals or skipped a meal because there wasn't enough money for food. Among respondents, 16 percent said that occurred every month.

The survey indicated 20 percent of respondents had high food security. The other 80 percent had either marginal (21 percent), low (22.1 percent) or very low (36.8 percent) food security. The USDA defines food security as "access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life."

"My first reaction was shock,” Rose said, recalling her analysis of the survey data. “I knew some people were struggling, but not at the magnitude that we found. I knew at that point I had to make sure the food pantry was established here at Washburn!”

Rose gathered other students, many from Washburn’s Christian Challenge, as well as faculty and staff support. In August, a core team of those individuals launched Bods Feeding Bods. This week, they’re finalizing the space for The Exchange and conducting volunteer training.

With the opening of The Exchange, Washburn joins a number of universities in Kansas and more than 50 institutions across the country with on-campus food banks. The Exchange will operate two days each week, staffed by volunteers from the campus community. Those wishing to receive food will be able to do so twice each month, as long as they have an active Washburn ID card. Food distribution will be based on family size.

Washburn's recently concluded "Can Emporia" food drive provided cans to support The Exchange. Collection will continue throughout the year, with the campus community encouraged to give when they can and visit The Exchange when they need.

Support for The Exchange and the overall Bods Feeding Bods initiative has come from university administrators, the Department of Psychology, Christian Challenge, New Hope food pantry and others.

Washburn's Oxfam America Club, which focuses on awareness of and action to alleviate world hunger, has partnered to become an initiative of Bods Feeding Bods. Plans are in the early stages to add other projects focused on nutrition education and meal preparation and distribution.

Oxfam America Club also will host special events in recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The complete schedule is as follows:

Monday, Nov. 17

11 a.m. -- Henderson Learning Resources Center lobby -- The Exchange opens with remarks from Washburn President Jerry Farley and founder Kelsey Rose and a ribbon cutting.

6 p.m. -- Petro Allied Health Center, Room 220 -- Panel discussion, "Hungry for an Education," featuring guests from Washburn, University of Kansas and Harvesters.

Tuesday, Nov. 18

6 p.m. -- Henderson 100 -- Screening of "Cesar Chavez," presented by Oxfam America Club, HALO and the Multicultural Affairs Office. Followed by a discussion.

Thursday, Nov. 20

6 p.m. -- Memorial Union, Washburn Room -- Oxfam Hunger Banquet, a meal that will open your mind to the reality of what most people worldwide actually eat, featuring hunger education both globally and locally.

No admission is charged to any of these events, but donations of nonperishable food or monetary support for Bods Feeding Bods initiatives is greatly appreciated.

Learn more about Bods Feeding Bods:

The Exchange operating hours:

Mondays 3-6 p.m. & Thursdays 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Henderson 019
On-campus resource hotline: 785.670.2580

Multimedia Files:

Preview image


Washburn University
Bods Feeding Bods and The Exchange
Kelsey Rose, 316-250-7402
Learning in the Community
Kristine Hart, 785-670-2287
assistant director
Michaela Saunders, 785-670-2154
university relations

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