Friday, June 30, 2017

Feeding the Flock

--I've spent the week thinking about students and hunger--but not the hunger for knowledge.  No, I've been thinking of statistics and anecdotes that talk about college students, many more of whom are facing hunger and homelessness than we would suspect.

--It's been a successful week of handing out food to returning students, primarily granola bars and fruit to our morning students.  Even the ones who have plenty of food at home are likely to forgo breakfast in the morning rush to get to class.  I liked being there to greet them and offer food.

--Our new campus executive director arrived on campus yesterday when I was greeting students and passing out food.  Later I met with him, and we discussed challenges on campus.  I talked about needing to increase retention and to convince students to stay in school.  I said, "So that's why you saw me handing out granola bars this morning."  He nodded and said, "Good, good."

I've worked for other people who would have immediately totaled up the cost of granola bars and wondered if it was worth it.  I'm glad we didn't have to have that conversation yesterday; I do realize that it may come later.

--Yesterday I submitted a proposal to be a presenter at a conference that I'm required to attend.  When my proposal was accepted, which means I don't have to pay the $140 conference fee, I immediately thought about how many granola bars I could buy.

--I've also been thinking of other ways to surreptitiously feed students.  I know that many students feel shame about not having enough.  I've thought of buying peanut butter and bread and putting it on the counter in the student lounge.  I've also thought about having a crock pot of soup--something cheap and nutritious.  I wasn't thinking of always having those available--but at least once a week, to have something out and available for students who might be hungry.  And it wouldn't take much to always have a fruit bowl on the counter.  I've been surprised by how many people are taking bananas this week.

--I've thought about the food pantry that we used to run at a former campus.   Finding storage for the food at my current campus would be a problem.  I have a vision for ready-to-go food bags that students could grab--instead of the food pantry at my old school that had a wide variety of food.

--Am I crazy to be spending so much mental energy on this project of mine?  Some might say my time would be better spent by tracking down students who aren't attending--and I do plan to do that with each progressive week.

--As I've thought about the past few days and all my various thoughts about food, I've wondered not only if I am crazy, but if this is God speaking to me.  I've thought of Jesus saying, "Feed my sheep."  I've rejoiced in my corporate credit card.  I will keep on with these projects until someone tells me not to do it anymore--and then I'll explain why we must.

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