Hunger is an often invisible community tragedy. But for the past 15 years, the Manhattan, Kansas, Kiwanis Club has had a very visible connection to a food network that feeds thousands of families.
Carroll Hackbart has been volunteering with the Flint Hills Breadbasket since the club took on the project. “I don’t like to see perfectly good food go to waste, especially when there are people that have a need for it,” he says.
The Breadbasket’s mission: “To minimize hunger and poverty through the distribution of available food and to nurture projects that will help alleviate hunger and poverty.” To contribute to that goal, every Thursday at 8 a.m., volunteers collect unwanted food from coffee shops, produce markets, grocery stores and restaurants. Using a pickup truck and many cardboard boxes, they gather the businesses’ donations before returning to the Breadbasket to process the collections. Many churches, schools, and organizations also conduct food drives and fundraisers for the Flint Hills Breadbasket, helping it serve the 24.7 percent of Riley County citizens who live at or below the poverty level.
“For me, the most important mission for our Kiwanis club is to provide hands-on help to community organizations such as the Flint Hills Breadbasket, maximizing their potential of serving children and families who need assistance in obtaining healthy food,” says club Secretary Elaine Haun. “An added bonus is getting to know my fellow Kiwanis members better while we are volunteering together.”
This isn’t the only way the Kiwanis club fights hunger in Manhattan. Members also deliver Riley County Senior Center meals to homes every Wednesday, giving nutrition to individuals unable to prepare it for themselves. –Courtney Meyer
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