By Maddie Gee | Reporter
There are more than 4 million Texans that are food insecure, with a percentage of those being in the Waco community according to Campus Kitchen. The organization also found there are students on our own campus that are also experiencing food insecurity, with “32 percent of Baylor students experiencing very high levels of food insecurity.” Campus Kitchen is here to help those no longer experience this feeling.
San Antonio junior Madeline Lochte and Castle Pines junior Azile Nelson have been working on putting together an event on that not only helps the hungry in Waco but also the hungry on campus.
“Turkeypalooza is a canned food drive that takes place for a couple of weeks in between October and November, and basically we invite all the dorms on campus to allow their residents to donate to our cause,” Nelson said.
Turkeypalooza is being hosted by both Campus Kitchen and Circle K International for the first time this year.
“It is our first year doing it with them because they reached out to us asking us if we would be interested in partnering because they did a canned food drive, too. We have been working with them a little bit, and they have made the boxes for us to go to the dorms. It has been really good for them to help us,” Lochte said.
The two girls started planning the event with a simple text. The plan is to unite Shepard’s Heart Food Pantry with Baylor to help students who struggle to afford groceries.
“This summer I got a text from Maddie saying, ‘Hey, I need a partner,’ and I knew about the mission and that it was a really great organization, and I knew that there was service involved so I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it,’” Nelson said.
Across campus in the dorms, students can find boxes inside residence hall lobbies for donation.
“A lot of the living-learning community centers, they will give leadership or community service points just to give an incentive. After the end of that time, we donate it to Shepherd’s Heart or The Store,” Nelson said.
Nelson and Lochte love Shepherd’s Heart and the impact they are making in Waco.
“We partnered with ‘Shepherd’s Heart’ last year and their food pantry in Waco. It is really fun to be able to donate to them because they have these big scales basically that they put all the donations on so you can see in pounds how many cans you donated. It is fun to see how much the dorms like to get involved with it, and that they like to donate to the community as well,” Lochte said.
While the event is donating food to the Waco community, there is also going to be aid provided to struggling students on Baylor’s campus. Ten percent of donations are going to go to The Store, which is the on-campus food pantry for students located in the Sid Richardson Building.
The event is very impactful for not just those involved, but those affected as well, according to Lochte and Nelson.
“Food scarcity in Waco is a big deal, but it is also a big deal on campus. It is surprising that there is a percentage on campus that have food insecurity as well. So it is important that being in this community we focus on the Waco community as well and not just the Baylor Bubble,” Lochte said.
Through events like Turkeypalooza, Baylor students are able to give back and broaden their focus outside of campus.
“I think it is important because it gives Baylor students the opportunity to think outside of the Baylor community and think of the Waco community because Baylor is a huge part of Waco, but it is not the only part of Waco,” Nelson said.