A group of motivated Salinans gathered Thursday to rally, and kick-off the 2015 Project Salina effort.
Project Salina is an annual drive to collect food for the hungry. It unites multiple businesses and 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.
Representatives from each organization spoke at the kick-off event. Some of the information shared includes:
- The Emergency Aid Food bank saw over 21,000 people last year, and provided over 400,000 food items.
- The Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas provided over 17,000 meals last year.
- The Salina Rescue Mission served over 48,000 meals last year.
Kathy Jackson from the Emergency Aid Food Bank told those who gathered that while other cities in Kansas feed the hungry, those cities have tried and failed to maintain a community-wide effort like Project Salina. “What you are doing is unique to Salina”, she said. “Other cities feed the hungry, but what you are doing is different, working together as a project to make a difference”, Jackson concluded.
Brian Anderson from the Ashby House said that “we live in the greatest community in Kansas, and no doubt the greatest community in the united states”, citing how multiple organizations, businesses, and individuals come together to support efforts like Project Salina.
This year marks 26 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, 204 organizations participated in the effort, gathering 270,158 food items for five agencies.
This year the need is even greater, and the goal even loftier. The goal is to collect 301,000 food items for the five agencies that feed Salina’s hungry. Project Salina provides about 40% of their annual food needs. The agencies typically see a lot of donations during the holidays, but by the summer months their shelves are getting bare.
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.
Salina Media Group radio stations this year will be collecting cereal, both hot and cold.