On Wednesday, you’ll find something a little unusual folded in your copy of the Journal Star.
The brown bag labeled “Southeast Nebraska Student Hunger Drive” will feature instructions on how you can join in a new effort to help local high school students help our community.
The student hunger drive unleashes the power of teenagers on the problem of food insecurity across our region. It’s a difficult problem to quantify, but based on the business done by charities and agencies charged to help, it’s a big one.
The brown bags you’ll find Wednesday that can be filled with non-perishable food and dropped off at several local schools and participating businesses are only part of the effort.
The bulk of the action happens as participating schools compete to gather the most food, by weight, per student. And students are encouraged to think outside the box -- or paper bag -- to come up with creative ways to gather items that will end up at the Food Bank of Lincoln and the People’s City Mission to be used or distributed through a variety of channels.
Nancy Becker, retired Lincoln North Star principal, is heading up Lincoln’s first campaign, which is funded in part by a grant from the nonprofit group that launched a similar program in Davenport, Iowa, more than 25 years ago.
Becker has 13 schools signed up -- Bryan Community Focus Program, College View Academy, East High, Lincoln Christian, Lincoln Lutheran, Malcolm, Milford, Norris, North Star, Northeast, Parkview Christian, Pius X, Southeast -- but they’ll likely reach out to middle and elementary schools, friends and neighbors.
High school students are getting a boost from corporate sponsors Performance Toyota, Performance Chrysler, Lexus of Lincoln, Union Bank, Sandhills Publishing and the Lincoln Journal Star. They’d welcome help from any other business that wants to jump in.
The more help they can get from all of us the better. There’s need. Individuals and families will go to sleep tonight not knowing what or whether they will eat tomorrow. Given that it’s a student-driven campaign, there will be no shortage of fun, but at the heart of this is a serious message: Our fellow community members have needs, and helping them is within our grasp.
If we all pitch in, we’ll help shape a new generation of philanthropic leaders at the same time we put food on the tables and in the stomachs of people in our community.
That’s a lot of good you can do with a few boxes of macaroni or a few cans of lima beans.