Month: September 2013

From global to local, there are endless opportunities to donate

Posted on Updated on

Meet up with your reddit community on Oct. 5 for the website’s second annual Global reddit Service Day. Don’t worry about going far, although you will have to leave the computer. Chances are other reddit users are in your area waiting to help; you might just have to organize it yourself.

Charity can be as simple as tossing a can into a recycle bin. Cans for the Community donates all of the money it gets from recycling cans to Douglas County non-profits. Drink as much soda as you want, it’s for a good cause. Just don’t tell your dentist.

Who said there was an age limit on lemonade stands? KU Students Together Against Cancer brought back childhood memories by selling lemonade to raise money for cancer treatment. If lemonade isn’t your thing, word on the street is they’re going to do a hot chocolate stand, too.


Great Start Pack will support Lawrence food-insecure families

Posted on Updated on

Although September is Hunger Action Month, it’s never too late to join the fight to end hunger.

On Oct. 6, the United Way of Douglas County will host the Great Start Pack, a food-packaging event to benefit food-insecure families in the Lawrence, Kan., area.

The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as an economic and social condition of unreliable access to food. According to the USDA, 14.5 percent of households in the U.S. were considered food-insecure in 2012.

“People will kind of move in and out of [food insecurity] based on what’s happening in their lives,” said Lori Johns, director of volunteer engagement at the United Way of Douglas County.

The Great Start Pack will package 40,000 meals. Just Food, the local food bank, then will distribute the food to the food-insecure families in Lawrence. Just Food’s mission is to provide nutritious food to those in poverty. According to its website, Just Food, along with other agencies, feeds more than 8,000 people per month.

The meals packaged at the Great Start Pack will consist of beans and rice, both staple foods for a healthy diet.

The food-packaging process is similar to an assembly line. At each stage, the beans and rice are carefully measured into bags and  ingredients are added. Volunteers in the assembly line will add seasoning and vitamins and protein for nutritional value. Then the bags are passed off to be sealed.

Local chef Rick Martin and others will be at the Great Start Pack to offer demonstrations for the volunteers. The chefs will show how to cook nutritious meals on a budget, a skill that would benefit many food-insecure families.

“Too often people are spending a lot of money driving through fast-food places and they’re getting a lot of empty calories for a lot of money,” Johns said. “They could take that money and probably get several meals out of it, if they know how to prepare things.”

Eating a nutritious meal is essential for families who cannot rely on a consistent meal schedule.

The UWDC has an annual campaign designed to raise funds for events such as the Great Start Pack.

The campaign strives to raise more than $1.8 million through its many partners and donors.

Johns said that several hundred businesses and their employees make donations to the UWDC. Their generous donations make it possible for the UWDC to provide meals to Lawrence area families.

The Great Start Pack is one of many ways for volunteers to become more involved with the UWDC and community at-large.

Sierra Glasscock, a junior at the University of Kansas, knows exactly how valuable food-packaging events can be. She participated in one at Kansas City’s Harvesters Community Food Network in 2010. The packaged meals went out to families during the winter holiday season.

“It was a great way to understand the needs of our community,” Glasscock said. “To see how something as simple as organizing care packages for the holidays can make some family’s year.”

The Great Start Pack will be held at Prairie Park Elementary School. The event runs from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Sign up to volunteer on the United Way Roger Hill website.

For more information on other volunteer opportunities, visit the volunteer opportunities on the United Way Roger Hill website.

I interviewed Emily Ferbezar, an intern at the United Way of Douglas County. Ferbezar is a senior at the University of Kansas majoring in Strategic Communications.

Ferbezar Interview transcript

Feed the living, not the dead

Posted on Updated on

Prepare for a zombie invasion on Saturday, Sept. 28, with the 5th annual Topeka Zombie Walk. Head downtown in your zombie garb and join in on the festivities or sit back and enjoy the view. All donations will benefit Let’s Help, Inc. Just try not to get bitten.


Posted on Updated on

Looking to break out the old nine-iron? Look no further. The 2nd annual Matt Bollig Golf Tournament is Friday, Sept. 27. Originally set up to help pay his hospital bills, Bollig’s tournament now serves to raise awareness for wheelchair athletics. Practice your golf swing while supporting Kansas Accessible Sports.

Got milk?

Posted on Updated on

This week Shatto Milk Co. will release a special flavor in honor of its 10th anniversary. The new flavor? Birthday Cake milk. As if that’s not good enough, 20 percent of the flavor’s sales will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City. Get your calcium on.