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April 14, 2008 - Hastings College Food 4 Thought program honored
The Hastings College Food 4 Thought program was recognized in March by Sally Ganem, wife of Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, for being the Outstanding Community Service Project of 2008 in Nebraska. Students Megan Consbruck, Hastings, Neb., Kelsey Jones, Auburn, Neb., and Ashley Childers, Omaha, Neb., and faculty sponsor Dr. Judy Hall, associate professor of teacher education, received the surprise award in Lincoln, Neb.
Ganem gives one outstanding service award in nine separate categories each spring, as well as a lifetime achievement in volunteer service award.
Students enrolled in the Communication, Consultation and Collaborative Partnership education class launched the Food 4 Thought non-profit program last fall to help feed children in the Hastings community. The program was designed to feed elementary-aged children over the weekends, who qualify for the Hastings Public Schools free lunch program. The program piloted at Longfellow Elementary School in February, and assists 11 students and their families.
Food 4 Thought is similar to the Lincoln Backpack Program, a program that serves children in the Lincoln, Neb., elementary schools.
College students and other community volunteers fill backpacks with non-perishable food items, along with vouchers for bread, milk and eggs to be redeemed at Russ’s Market. The backpacks are then delivered to Longfellow’s school office.
Next fall, low-income Lincoln Elementary students will receive backpacks along with the Longfellow students. Plans are to add another school each year.
The program has been taken over by another organization, Hastings College Child Defenders. This group sponsors several events each year to support children. The group has an annual children’s book drive; is an advocate for the Invisible Children, a movement concerning children in Uganda; and conducts a textbook collection called Books for Africa.
Hastings College Child Defenders is looking for additional volunteers during the day on Fridays to deliver backpacks. To volunteer, contact Consbruck at (402) 984-8393.
Monetary donations are also being accepted to cover the costs of the program. It costs $75 to feed a family for one semester. Checks may be sent to: Food 4 Thought, P.O. Box 1662, Hastings, NE 68902.