Johnson County Community College wants to fight hunger, both here and abroad.
By LUKE RANKER
Special to The Star
The college is attempting to raise $5,000 to pay for 20,000 meals that cost 25 cents each, said Kim Criner, education and engagement coordinator for the school’s Center for Sustainability.
JCCC is working with Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency that provides nutritious packaged meals to impoverished areas and disaster relief in 65 countries.
Volunteers will package the meals, consisting of dehydrated vegetables, rice, soy meal and a supplement that provides 21 vitamins and nutrients, on Sept. 27 in the school’s new Hospitality and Culinary Academy.
But first, they need to raise the money to buy the meals. The college’s fundraising effort has a ways to go before its Sept. 27 deadline: The school has raised a little over $800, Criner said.
“It’s pretty neat that we can tell people one quarter will feed a child lunch,” she said.
Along with the Stop Hunger Now campaign, the school also is raising awareness for its own food pantry. Between 20 and 30 people visit the JCCC food pantry a week, Criner said. Based on the amount of food taken, she estimates about 60 people are fed through the the pantry per week.
“We have needs right here on campus,” Criner said. “There are families on campus and in the local community that need food.”
JCCC’s Model United Nations runs the pantry, which began in 2011 when faculty noticed that some students had taken food during a food drive.
On the international level, fighting hunger globally helps improve the economy and living conditions in poor countries, said Anna Page, assistant professor of dietary management. Children, especially girls, are more likely to attend school if a hot meal is served. Stop Hunger Now’s meals are delivered largely to schools, she said.
“A lot of people say we should address the root cause of poverty, which is true, but we can’t ignore the hunger now,” Page said.
To raise money for the Stop Hunger Now packaging event, student groups will run bake sales and other fundraising events. Some departments have change jars to collect money. The packaging event is open only to JCCC students and faculty, but Johnson County community is encouraged to donate.
“It’s difficult for college students because they don’t necessarily have a lot of money,” Page said.
Those wanting to contribute can make a tax-deductible donation on the event website, stophungernow.secure.force.com/events/SA_EVENTS__Donate?id=70170000000kYwuAAE, or contact Criner at 913-469-8500, Ext. 2883, with questions.
Stop Hunger Now has a minimum of $2,500 or 10,000 meals per event, so if the school is unable to raise that much, Criner said JCCC will have to cancel the event. If that’s the case, money raised through bake sales and change jars will be given to the JCCC food pantry. Stop Hunger Now will keep the money raised online to be used for meals they package and ship themselves.
“This is our first time doing this, so we’ll see how it goes,” Criner said. “Regardless it does raise awareness of (our) food pantry, so some good will come out of it.”