A group of motivated Salinans gathered Thursday morning to rally, and kick-off the 2018 Project Salina effort.
Project Salina is an annual drive to collect food for the hungry. It unites multiple businesses, churches, and other organizations in an effort to collect food for five agencies that serve meals, or distribute food, throughout the year. The agencies include Ashby House, the Salina Rescue Mission, The Emergency Aid Food Bank, the Salvation Army, and the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas.
Project Salina provides about 40% of the annual food needs. The agencies typically see a lot of donations during the holidays, but by the summer months their shelves are getting bare.
Representatives from each organization spoke at the kick-off event Thursday morning. Some of the information shared includes:
- The Emergency Aid Food bank distributed over 250,000 food items to over 15,000 people last year.
- The Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas shelters up to 20 people at a time. Along with providing meals in their shelter the organization also provides basic food items ti families in need.
- The Salina Rescue Mission served over 45,000 meals last year. The organization serves two meals daily, seven days a week, open to anyone in the community.
- The Salina Salvation Army serves an evening hot meal five days a week. Between 50 and 100 people normally attend, with most of them being children. Along with the hot meal the organization also has a food pantry to send food home with people as well.
- The Ashby House has 12 properties and 9 programs. It helps homeless families, families in poverty, and families that have been displaced due to emergency situations.
Michael Chambers from the Emergency Aid Food Bank told those who gathered that Saline County is higher than the national average in “food insecurity”, or being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. He credited the Project Salina effort with keeping his shelves stocked. “We could not do what we do without Project Salina,” he said.
Captain Lynn Lopez from the Salvation Army said that the Project Salina effort is vital to her organization’s mission in feeding the hungry. “Because of programs like this, by the grace of God we continue our mission,” she concluded.
This year marks 28 years of the effort. Project Salina began back in 1990. It started as an effort to help agencies that provide food when their need is the greatest, in the summer months. The agencies typically see a lot of donations during the holidays, but by the summer months their shelves are getting bare.
In that first year, 23 organizations gathered 56,465 food items for three local agencies. The effort has grown over the years. Last year, over 200 businesses and churches participated in the effort, gathering over 245,000 food items for five agencies.
While Thursday was the kick-off event for volunteers, the actual food collection does not begin until May 1st, and continues throughout the entire month.
Rocking M Media radio stations this year will be collecting egg noodles.