Northeast Iowa Community College Students Help Feed Those in Need
February 9, 2017
WATERLOO–On Friday, Feb. 10, students from the Calmar and Peosta campuses at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) will be traveling to Waterloo to volunteer at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
This will be the third year that NICC students have volunteered at the food bank as a service opportunity. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, which is a network of food banks across the country.
Each year, NICC students go on a service trip during Spring Break, and it was these previous trips that led students to take a look at service opportunities closer to home.
“On past Spring Break service trips, we’ve volunteered with Feed America,” explained Kara Popp, Director of Student Life, Diversity & Leadership at the Peosta campus. “This inspired us to see if we had a Feed America Food Bank in our area.”
Many children and families have benefited from the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, which operates a variety of programs with the shared goal of feeding people in need throughout the region. One program that NICC students have contributed to during past service opportunities is the BackPack Program, which provides a backpack of food to children in need.
“The first time we visited the food bank, we helped to put together weekend backpacks for children,” explained Liz Smith, a student at the college’s Peosta campus and one of the volunteers. “They provide backpacks filled with snack options to get them through the weekend.”
Those backpacks go to 130 different sites throughout 16 counties in Iowa, where they are distributed to chronically hungry children.
Being able to help feed those in need resonates with Smith, who was strongly affected by a story she was told the first time she volunteered at the food bank.
“A few years ago, one of the local schools had to cancel their lunch due to contamination, and there was one little girl who got really upset,” said Smith. “She was so angry that she was crying and throwing things. When they finally asked her why she was so upset, she told them ‘I don’t eat any food all week except for my school lunch.’ This story struck me in the heart. I will forever do whatever I can to help another person, no matter what the situation.”
To learn more about service opportunities offered through NICC, visit www.nicc.edu/studentlife/service/. More information about the Northeast Iowa Food Bank can be found at www.northeastiowafoodbank.org.