Konza Student Table: Local organizations team up to fight food insecurity among college students

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St. Isidore’s Catholic Church and the Food and Farm Council of Riley County and the City of Manhattan are teaming up to fight food insecurity among K-State students.
The two organizations will host the Konza Student Table in front of Saint Isidore’s every Wednesday beginning at 5:30 p.m. starting Sept. 9 as a way of providing free one free dinner and one free breakfast per week for K-State students.
“The intent is that if they are already feeling a lot of pressure about school, about the stress of COVID, job issues, that this is one night and then the next morning that they don’t have to worry about food,” Vicki James, Food and Farm Council coordinator, said. “They can celebrate and enjoy things a little bit more without having to worry about being fed.”
A 2020 K-State National College Health Assessment showed that almost 40 percent of K-State students deal with food insecurity.
Riley County leads Kansas counties in food insecurity at a rate of 18.5 percent, 4.5 percent above the state average.
The Konza Student Table will also be available to the immediate family members of K-State students.
The first meal package will consist of lemon pepper chicken, rice pilaf, bistro vegetables, an apple or an orange and breakfast for the next morning.
Lacy’s Fresh Fare and Catering, a largely student-run organization located in Justin Hall on the K-State campus that operates within K-State’s hospitality management department, will provide the meals.
St. Isidore’s already provides a similar service through its Dollar Dinners, which are meals provided to students on Sunday evenings for $1.
“If they don’t have a dollar, I tell them that Father Gale will be sure to cover them,” Father Gale Hammerschmidt, St. Isidore’s priest, said. “”We just serve them a meal and it’s kind of a thing for companionship, for friendship, for fellowship.”
According to Hammerschmidt, Dollar Dinners have put St. Isidore’s in a position to further provide food security for students, especially in the COVID-19-era.
“We’ve gone more to the grab-and-go kind of thing,” Hammerschmidt said. “It’s been something that’s been successful at St. Isidore’s for quite some time. So we already have some sort of idea as to what does it look like to serve a large number of students on any given night.”
Those wanting to donate can do so online at stisidores.com or with a paper check with Konza Student Table written in the memo line. Volunteers are also needed.
St. Isidore’s Catholic Church is located at 711 Denison Ave. near the southwest corner of the K-State campus.
The Food and Farm Council was formed in 2018 by Riley County and the City of Manhattan. It’s goal is to develop and maintain a sustainable and healthy food system for the region.
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