By Madison Otten
In the first part of our five-part series for the FRCC’s Hunger Block, April Lewandowski shared the origin of the campus’ annual Hunger Banquet event. For part two, Lewandoski invited The Front Page to join her class on a field trip to the Food Bank of the Rockies. As part of the curriculum leading up to the Hunger Banquet, they first volunteer at the food bank to learn more about how hunger affects our community.
Along with Lewandowski’s class, students in Kelli Cole and Kristina Kahl’s classes also attended. All three classes studied hunger and its effects on local communities. Cole’s class looked at hunger through a lens, literally. The class held the PhotoVoice in tandem with the Hunger Banquet, depicting hunger through photographs and summaries on the students’ research into the topic. Kahl’s class hosted the Wasted Food event the week following the Hunger Banquet.
At the Food Bank of the Rockies, the students volunteered and experienced the bustling, busy world of the bank. The classes were separated into two groups: one group sorted food, while another filled out orders and loaded up pallets. Even with rows upon rows of food, sometimes there just wasn’t enough to fill specific orders.
The group that filled orders were given a list to go through. They would find the order in a specific row and grab whatever amount of the product the order called for. Then. they would wrap the pallet with heavy duty plastic wrap, stick on the order sheet and leave it for pickup and shipment. While working, the students had the smooth tunes of ‘80s pop and soft rock to keep them moving.
Bre Pfost, a student in Lewandowski’s class shared how the work impacted her.
“I was not very willing to come help, but when I got here, it was really cool to see everyone get into it and make a difference in the community,” said Pfost. “I don’t usually think about volunteering, and now that I have, it’s nice to help in something bigger than just me.”
While students like Pfost were a little unsure in the beginning, by the end, everyone seemed to have a good time. If a group of students finished early, then they helped other students finish their orders. Students got a healthy dose of teamwork and a better understanding of what it takes to feed the hungry people of Colorado. Many of the students seemed very pleased to learn that, through their efforts, many families would be fed. After finishing their volunteer duties, the students were then chartered back and were treated with a pizza party as a thanks for the students’ hard work.
Audrey Bowler, another participant, shared her thoughts on the volunteering.
“Pretty fun,” said Bowler. “It’s nice to help people, absolutely worth it.”
According to Lewandowski, in the short time that the students volunteered, the group moved and sorted about 55,000 pounds of food that, in turn, fed about 44,000 people in need in the expansive communities that the food bank serves. Fifty students volunteered at the Food Bank of the Rockies; that’s about 1,000 pounds of food sorted or moved per person during two and half hours of work.
Not only that, but because of the students’ efforts, the Westminster campus’ food pantry at the school also received about 900 pounds of food credit, meaning that even more students will be helped. It really helps put in perspective how even a few hours of volunteering can have a major influence on those around you.