Student organization hoping to battle hunger

by Steffi Lee

One Simpson College organization is taking matters into it’s own hands to relay the message about how hunger is an epidemic in Iowa.

Campbell Soup Company and Enactus have partnered together to bring hunger relief through the “Let’s Can Hunger” food drive. Enactus members recently collected non-perishable food items at the home football game against Buena Vista University on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Juniors Liz Rice and Connor Johnson serve as co-project leaders for “Let’s Can Hunger.”

“We got a grant from Campbell of $300 and this semester through Feb. 27, we have a goal to raise 5,000 pounds of food,” Rice said.

Both are in Enactus and were motivated to start the project because of what they saw in their service projects during high school.

“Throughout high school, I did a lot of service projects and went to the Dominican Republic and saw the hunger there,” Rice said.

Johnson said he remembers certain instances during community service and in his community where hunger was evident.

“You could just tell they were malnourished,” he said.

Johnson said applying for Campbell Soup Company’s grant required plenty of planning beforehand.

“You have to specify how exactly you’re going to use the money and then when you get the grant, you do a conference call to make sure your plans kind of match up with what Campbell wants to see us do with the money,” he said.

For the canned food drives, Johnson said one can counts for one pound of food and one dollar amounts to one pound of food.

“For bigger cans, we divide them,” Johnson said. “10 ounces is one can.”

Although donations and food drives happen primarily around the holidays, both said hunger is a problem year-round.

“It’s [raising pounds of food] kind of an ongoing thing,” Rice said. “The football game was just a minor part of it.”

Johnson said Enactus has partnered with other organizations across campus, as well as the chemistry department.

“Chemistry classes are doing a competition to see who can raise the most cans,” he said.

Outside of the canned food drives Enactus is holding, Campbell’s grant money is also helping with solving hunger problems within the community.

“With the $300, we’re going to go to Goodwill and places like that to buy cooking utensils and stuff and donate them to the families who need them,” Rice said.

The remaining funds will go towards putting together other canned food drives and sponsoring families over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enactus will also hold food drives at Mr. Simpson and upcoming basketball games. The organization is also partnering with Brubaker Elementary School in Des Moines.

“Last year, we got 1700 pounds of food (at Mr. Simpson) and this year, the goal is 2000, and being the second year, I think we should be able to reach that,” Rice said.

All proceeds will directly impact the Indianola community. Rice and Johnson said Enactus plans to donate all of the food items to Helping Hand, an assistance pantry.

As of Saturday’s game, Enactus has raised 1,001 pounds of food so far.

“We just want to make people aware that there are hunger needs in Iowa,” Rice said.