Knox students donate meals for The Lunch Spot

From The Register-Mail:

…At the end of the fall term, Knox senior Alison Ehrhard received an e-mail from The People in Galesburg’s Hunger Action Group, one of many involved in The Lunch Spot, announcing a meeting to discuss how to feed the more than 60 percent of District 205 students who rely on free or reduced-price lunches.

“I saw the schools would be closed for two extra weeks to save on heat and they wanted to get food to those kids during that time,” said Ehrhard, who, along with her friend Rosie Worthen, is a member of the Alliance for Peaceful Action at Knox.

“Rosie and I showed up at the meeting and figured our organization could do something,” said Ehrhard. “There’s an overabundance of food here, so it’d be very easy for Knox students to give.”

At first, Ehrhard, Worthen and other students organized a food drive for the cause, encouraging their peers to use leftover money from their meal plans.

“A lot of students have leftover dining dollars at the end of each term, and if you don’t use it all, it doesn’t carry over to the next term and it’s wasted,” said Ehrhard. “We ended up collecting a lot of food, so that was really exciting. I guess it made sense to a lot of people.”

Wanting to do more, Ehrhard worked with Helmut Mayer, Knox’s director of dining services. In the past, Mayer said, the school has allowed students to donate meal swipes that would go toward feeding senior citizens in need, but this effort was a much larger scale.

“Initially the plan was to make some boxed lunches and give them to The Lunch Spot,” said Mayer. “But as the numbers came in, it became clear that we didn’t have the capacity to do that.”

In less than three days, just 235 students donated 1,567 meal swipes, from which Mayer was able to translate into 1,600 meals that will include a sandwich, granola bar, fresh fruit and bottled juice. Since Mayer’s staff already serves 1,900 meals daily, however, he didn’t have the manpower to serve hundreds more. Grateful for the donations alone, The Lunch Spot’s coordinators accepted the ingredients and will prepare the meals this week with the help of volunteers. The supplies will cover 400 meals for four days. Mayer said he is proud of the Knox effort…