Kent State Celebrates 10 Years of Promoting Food Security and Launches Flashes Fighting Hunger

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) recently celebrated 10 years of fighting hunger, promoting food security, and reducing food waste by kicking off Flashes Fighting Hunger, an initiative dedicated to continuing that tradition with new tools and programming.

The new Flashes Fighting Hunger initiative takes the last 10 years to a new level, going beyond a kitchen that provides meals by becoming a program that prevents food waste, promotes food recovery and hosts multiple food pantries each week to serve the region.
volunteers filling boxes with canned goods

A 10-year anniversary celebration was held on Nov. 18, 2021, at the Center for Undergraduate Excellence (CUE), featuring University College Dean Eboni Pringle and Amanda Woodyard, director of Community Engaged Learning.

During the kick-off event, students, staff, faculty and guests celebrated 10 great years of providing to those in need.

“Kent State has made a huge impact on fighting hunger and food insecurity for the last decade,” Woodyard said. “This new initiative is going to allow us to spread awareness, speak more of who we are and what we do.”

In addition to announcing the new initiative, CEL launched the new Mobile Food Pantry, a truck donated by Culinary Services, that will expand food access to pockets of the Portage County community that face challenges to utilizing current resources such as lack of transportation or residing in food deserts.         

“The mobile pantry allows us to reach vulnerable populations that may not have the means to travel to on-campus or off-campus pantries that are happening around the area,” Woodyard said. “We really want this mobile unit to be the kind of lifeline for some families that live in areas that might not have access to transportation.”

Attendees at the event worked together to box up perishable and non-perishable items and load the new mobile food pantry for its maiden voyage. CEL wants everyone to know opportunities exist for anyone with an interest.

“There is always a place for everyone whether it’s in the kitchen cooking, marketing or doing social media for us,” Woodyard said, “We have many roles available and we want students to know that no matter your passion, your skills, your abilities, we could always use help with Flashes Fighting Hunger.”

The organization recognizes it's providing help to the community by also helping Kent State students.

“I think the most important takeaway is how powerful our students can be when they recognize the needs and work together to determine how to meet them,” Pringle said. “I love the thought of us being able to bring students and the community together and see the power that happens.”

For more information on Flashes Fighting Hunger, visit www.kent.edu/community/flashes-fighting-hunger.

To give to Flashes Fighting Hunger, donate at www.flashes.givetokent.org/campaign/campus-kitchen/c326482.

To find opportunities to volunteer visit www.app.helperhelper.com/inst/192/opportunities?forg=6013.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 10:20am
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 1, 2022 - 1:20pm
WRITTEN BY:
Cassondra Siaus