Staff and faculty from the Kansas State University Department of Grain Science and Industry spent weeks planning and working to put on Thursday’s drive-thru flour distribution and the turnout did not disappoint.
By the time the event was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., workers had already given out hundreds of pounds of flour and the line just outside K-State’s Hal Ross Flour Mill showed no signs of slowing down.
This all started with K-State staff and faculty noticing that grocery-store shelves had been relatively cleared of baking essentials, resulting in them spending 10 hours milling 20,000 pounds of wheat into 15,000 pounds of all-purpose white flour to be given out to the public free-of-charge.
While the distribution provided community members with another option for flour, it also allowed university staff to prepare the mill, which hadn’t been used since K-State’s spring break, for students and classes this fall.
“Leaving the mill dark for 10 weeks is not the best practice,” Gordon Smith, head of the K-State Department of Grain Science and Industry, said. “It was a great opportunity for us to do something we needed to do and benefit the community as well.”
Each car that showed up to the distribution received one of the 1,500 10-pound bags of flour available.
According to Smith, this would not have been possible without the help of local farmers.
“This was locally produced wheat that was donated by Kansas Wheat,” Smith said while motioning to Kansas Wheat building located adjacent to the Hal Ross Flour Mill. “The department would not exist or thrive without the support of the farmers and the commissions.”
As for the product itself, those who showed up to the distribution likely received a quality product.
“We made this flour with faculty with about 60 years of experience,” Smith said. “It’s some of the best flour we’ve ever made at K-State: really high-protein, good-bread flour.”
Any of the flour not given out at the drive-thru distribution is being donated to the Flint Hills Breadbasket in Manhattan and Harvesters in Topeka.