Spokane Community College students Kanishia Noble, Luis Munoz and Taylor Faagau know a thing or two about food drives. And how without them, it’s extraordinarily easy for children to go hungry.
That’s because growing up in the Spokane Public Schools and Mead School District systems, all three relied on a program called Bite 2 Go, a community food drive in partnership with Second Harvest that provides meals to students on weekends and over the summer.
Now as adults in the leadership class of People Accessing Careers and Education (PACE) program– a noncredit service that provides classes to individuals with cognitive or mental disabilities – when they heard Bite 2 Go at Farwell Elementary School in Mead wouldn’t happen this year due to losing a sponsor, they saw an opportunity.
“As a kid, before I got adopted by my family, this helped me out a lot,” said Noble, 31. “I figured, what better way to pay it forward to the kids who have no food over the summer.”
For the past few weeks, the three students – alongside their many peers in PACE – have been gathering buckets of food, supplies and more. The goal is 25 boxes total, but they’re sure they can smash that and hit 50.
What’s especially helpful are events are like the end-of-year Talent Show the three staffed this past Thursday, where students across PACE showcased their hidden talents and skills in SCC’s Lair Auditorium.
Part of a separate class in the program, the show is put on each spring and draws a large crowd of family and community members.
This year, rather than asking for money for admissions, the group thought it best to simplify things a bit: one food donation. Big or small.
“I like that this helps the kids who really need food,” said Faagau, 24. “Basically, I really like helping other people.”
All this effort will come to a head on Monday, June 20, when they’ll deliver the supplies to Farwell. Any food that isn’t donated up until that point will be supplemented with grocery store trips to ensure the quota is met (or in the likely case, exceeded entirely).
As for the three who led the efforts, this is just the first step. It could mean bigger and better community-based projects as part of the PACE program.
Or, it could mean the budding beginning of a lifelong love of service and support. Especially to the littlest in our community, who often need the biggest help.
“People have helped me a lot and so I want to help them,” said Munoz, 24. “I got food a lot when I was at Rogers [High School]. And I like helping and I really care about kids.”