Student organizes Harvesters volunteer event

Brenden Williams

Harvesters, one of Northeastern Kansas’ food banks, had a volunteer night to help with their Backsnack program on Thursday, Sept. 10.

“Feed hungry people today, end hunger tomorrow,” is the motto of Harvesters, a service based out of Kansas City that serves people from 26 counties in the Northeastern Kansas and Northwestern Missouri area. The service estimates they serve 1 in 7 people in the Topeka area and approximately 985 families a week. Harvesters is mostly operated by volunteers and last year recorded an estimated 18,000 hours of service.

On Sept. 10, Harvesters volunteers, which included Topeka Firefighters, Washburn Students and other community members, worked hard to bring food to hungry kids. They helped operate the Backsnack program, which brings food to hungry kids over the weekend and throughout the following week. Canned food, fruit and some snacks were bagged by volunteers at the event.

The event was organized by Hayley Normandin, a Bonner Leader and junior social work major, who is serving as an intern at Harvesters.

Normandin organized the volunteer Backsnack drive, as well as the presentation and tours of the Harvesters facility. Volunteers toured the facility, which is composed of two coolers for perishable foods as well as a large area of shelving for bread and other non-perishable food items, acting as the assembly line for Backsnack.

“I definitely feel like there is a misconception in the United States about what hunger and what poverty and these things look like. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming people don’t even know where to start to help. Working at Harvesters made me realize I can help one person at a time. Our motto here is to ‘Feed hungry people today, end hunger tomorrow’ so we really focus on the present,” she said.

Normandin talked about the event itself, saying it was to show donors what exactly harvesters does as well as get them involved in the process. She also talked about why she picked Sept. 11 as the day for the event, “I felt like Sept. 11 was a really good opportunity to highlight the sense of community, how the nation came together in the time of tragedy.”