14:36 PM

Buckeye Love kicks off with Feed the Kids service project

Student, staff volunteers assemble 5,000 care packages

As part of The Ohio State University’s two-week-long Buckeye Love celebration, faculty, staff and students gathered at the Ohio Union on Monday and assembled 5,000 care packages with food items that will be donated to Columbus schoolchildren who are experiencing food insecurity.

The service project was a collaboration between Ohio State’s Leadership and Community Engagement department and the Feed the Kids Columbus nonprofit organization, with items provided through Ohio State’s partnership with Coca-Cola.

Many of the students who participated in the Feed the Kids project were members of Ohio State sororities and fraternities, said Dr. Kristen Rupert Davis, associate dean of students in the Office of Student Life.

“This is a really easy way to be of service and impact our community here in Columbus,” Rupert Davis told the students gathered at the Union.

Brutus Buckeye helped volunteers assemble care packages and stay motivated.Feed the Kids Columbus began four years ago as a weekend project in founder Ashley Kanney’s garage to provide meals and snacks to children in need throughout central Ohio, said Megan Ogden, a board member with the organization.

“We’re now in 30 schools around the Columbus area, serving over 8,000 students,” Ogden said. “It’s a huge impact, and we actually have 18 schools on our waitlist.”

Julie Schnell, an education studies major and an engagement and alumni specialist with Student Life, said she and other staff members worked with Feed the Kids Columbus to organize the volunteer event.

“It’s very easy for students to learn what they’re using today to take back, whether it’s to their chapter or their group of friends, to recreate this,” Schnell said. “It takes a lot of teamwork. Feed the Kids Columbus makes it pretty easy to put it together.”

Student volunteers said participating in the Feed the Kids Columbus project helped them feel connected not only with their peers, but the community surrounding Ohio State’s campus.

“I love philanthropy and service, and I thought this was a great way to give back to Columbus,” said Hannah Reese, a first-year with Pi Beta Phi. “I love this and this organization, and I thought it would be fun.”

Matthew Eifert, a third-year with Alpha Tau Omega, said his fellow fraternity members responded enthusiastically when they found out about the volunteer opportunity.

“We just saw a need in the community. We’re a big chapter. We have about 150 guys or so, and we just figured there was more that we could do,” he said. “We just thought we would give back.”

Following the guidance of Student Life staff and the guidelines set forth by Feed the Kids Columbus made the service project run efficiently, said Ellie Kulberg, a first-year with Pi Beta Phi.

“I think it’s really important to give back and help the community when you can,” she said. “Everybody’s super-fun and kind to one another. It’s a great environment to work in and everything’s going very smoothly.”

The presence of Brutus Buckeye helped keep volunteers motivated, Schnell said.

“It’s always good to have Brutus Buckeye here,” Schnell said. “It’s a good start to Buckeye Love week.”

For more information about Buckeye Love, visit kind.osu.edu.

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