The College of Arts and Sciences led a month-long program throughout October called Days of Service to make a positive impact through volunteering and donations.
The Days of Service initiative partnered with both the Food Bank of Lincoln as well as Husker Pantry to help combat the issue of hunger and food insecurity in the Lincoln community.
Mark Button, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that he hopes the CAS Days of Service will offer help to the thousands of people in Nebraska who are struggling right now with hunger.
“As a result of the pandemic, we know that the number of people dealing with food insecurity is on the rise,” Button said in an email. “CAS Days of Service leverages our strength in numbers as a college and channels our shared commitment to be a good community partner to assist people in great need.”
Button said the initiative is a great opportunity for students, faculty and staff to make a positive impact in the lives of people in the community.
Terri Pieper, marketing and communications director of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that CAS is committed to providing a safe environment for people to serve during the pandemic and that CAS, alongside the Food Bank of Lincoln, established they could bring groups of up to 10 individuals to volunteer and serve. They then identified three days for students, faculty and staff to sign up and volunteer.
Pieper was directly involved with the program and volunteered at the food bank on one of the scheduled service days. She and four other volunteers bagged enough apples to serve 570 families, according to Pieper based on calculations she received from the Food Bank of Lincoln.
Pieper said that CAS has around 250 to 300 items collected so far, and any other donations besides food items, such as monetary donations, are going straight to the Food Bank of Lincoln or Husker Pantry.
“We wanted to give opportunities to where you can give with your time, you can give with your ability to grab something out of your cupboard, or if you have five bucks you can say you will venmo five dollars,” Pieper said.
Pieper said that they are looking to grow the program in the future to further combat food insecurity, and ultimately look for individuals who are serving the community in different ways with different skills so they can salute them and raise awareness for how others can serve.
“We want to be able to grow it so that if you have a passion in another area that you can be recognized for your service, and we would love to be able to tout how our students, faculty and our staff are serving our community,” Pieper said.
Gage Kircher, a freshman undeclared major, attended one of the volunteer days last Wednesday and said he had the opportunity to meet staff, students and professors of different departments.
“I got to meet somebody I would not have necessarily known at all because it was a professor of anthropology and I have never taken an anthropology course, but I met her and made a new connection,” Kircher said.
Kircher said he enjoys networking and meeting new people and that volunteering is a great way to do those things while also helping the community.
Pieper said she hopes the Days of Service program continues to positively impact the community and provide a way for students, faculty and staff to make a difference. This year’s program is the first of many to come, according to Pieper, and she said she hopes to continue the month-long effort annually.
“Service to others before self is the ultimate measure of humanity and compassion,” Button said.