Local food drives benefit Kirksville community

Living during a pandemic isn’t easy, especially when you are unsure of how you’re going to get your next meal. However, a few food drives and the generosity of a community can help ease the struggle of hunger during this trying time. 

Junior Anna Blecha created a food drive program this year and points to her pre-Truman State University days as the source for the idea.

“My elementary school has about 40% of kids on free or reduced lunch,” Blecha said. “I saw similar situations of food struggles going on in the Kirksville community and decided that I wanted to help.”

Blecha said she worked through a few food drives in her primary school and in high school.

The Truman student said she remembers a specific moment that drove her toward organizing the current drive effort.

“This woman had two jobs while taking care of her sick grandfather,” Blecha said. “When we brought her donated food she broke down in tears from her gratitude towards us, which really meant a lot to me.”

The donated food quantities along with cash donations and sponsoring groups — people who handle the responsibility of a family — will benefit 20 families in the Kirksville community during the holiday season.

“I’ve been impressed and grateful for each and every single donation because I know each one is going to make a difference,” Blecha stated. 

Sara Seifert, Truman’s Department of Public Safety director, also conducted a food drive through which students could pay off parking tickets with canned food. 

Seifert, along with fellow members of DPS, organized and spread the word about Thanksgiving food drive for students.

“This will be the second year that we’ve held the drive,” Seifert said. “I’ve always wanted to do something for the campus community that would ease students’ financial burdens such as tickets and groceries for home.”

With the amount of tickets accumulated on campus every semester, the canned food supplement is a positive way for students to pay off their fines.

The drive goes beyond the resources of DPS, and Seifert acknowledged the second piece to the food drive puzzle.

“We decided to team up with the Truman Food Bank to get food donations for the campus community in need during the holidays.”

The drive offers participants the ability to pay off two campus parking tickets with a rate of $5 for every can of food donated. 

Close contact between Seifert and the TFB has been crucial in the retention of the drive being hosted this year, Seifert said.

“J.D. Smiser is the head of the Truman Food Bank and was ecstatic to start this drive last year,” Seifert said. “When we reached out again this year it was an automatic yes.”

Seifert said 722 cans of food were donated for a worth of $3,025.