Archive for Sunday, September 16, 2012

Families line up for food at kickoff of United Way’s 2012 campaign

September 16, 2012


The goal: $1.8M

Douglas County United Way made a goal of raising $1.8 million this year, which is $100,000 more than the campaign raised last year.

“It will be a challenge to achieve, but we believe that the community steps up when the need is great,” Dvorske said.

Vehicles wrapped around the Free State High School parking lot Sunday afternoon as needy Douglas County families waited for hours to receive free meals as part of the United Way Great Start Pack, which served as the United Way 2012 Campaign Kickoff.

United Way President and CEO Erika Dvorske said the agency wanted to make the kickoff celebration more of a service event.

“We wanted to bring both the resources in the community and the needs and match them up to address them,” Dvorske said.

More than 400 volunteers signed up through United Way to help package food, direct cars and hand out meals with Just Food, a local food bank, during the three-hour giveaway.

Volunteers packed 40,000 meals to give to low-income residents of Douglas County and distributed 15,000 of the meals to about 600 families.

Some families lined up at 11 a.m. and waited as long as four hours to get the packaged food.

“It was a reminder that this is important and people need help,” Dvorske said.

Meals included soy-protein infused macaroni and cheese, as well as donated items like sweet potatoes, tomatoes and canned foods. The leftover meals will be distributed to Just Food’s 42 partner organizations.

“There are people who didn’t know what they were going to eat tonight who are going to go home and eat what we packed today,” Just Food CEO Jeremy Farmer said.

United Way focuses on three areas in the community: education, health and self-sufficiency, and not going hungry contributes to success in each area.

Dvorske said improvement in these areas is impossible without the community and that all people have some amount of time, energy or money to contribute to those in need.

“If we (the community) are going to do this, it’s going to take all of us, and everyone’s got something to give,” Dvorske said.


gbulldog 1 year, 7 months ago

You may not be a Christian or read the Bible. But Jesus realized that his purpose was not to feed the people nor overthrow the Romans. His purpose was to improve lives of people to improve their self cofidence in order to live a better life. The giveaway programs may ease a few hunger pangs, but in the long run do nothing longterm to improve lives of people. What is needed is a coordinated effert by all who want to help the needy to help provide the resouces to allow the person to improve and develop confidence that they can dig themselves and their children out of the hole the find themselves in. There are many addicts who are clean, not because you made the clean, but because they were able to have the confidence to dig themselves out.


Mixolydian 1 year, 7 months ago

These kind of stories are as uplifting (in the generosity of people) as they are depressing (in this country's situation). I work across from a church that gives out food every day and every day I see at least 100 or more people come to recieve food. This country's economy is a lot worse than most people know and it's not going to improve anytime soon, in fact it'll probably get worse. We can't rely upon the government, we have to be kind to one another.


Deb Engstrom 1 year, 7 months ago

Thanks for responding to these posts. If you hadn't the readers would have had an entirely skewed perception of what actually happened on Saturday.


jfarmer83 1 year, 7 months ago


I don't think anything was misleading. Each package of macaroni and cheese contains six (6) meals. The phone call you received would have told you that, in addition to fresh produce and canned vegetables. Due to the number of people that came, and the amount of food we had available, we wanted to make sure to stretch as far as we could. I apologize that you felt slighted by the amount of food you got. Please call me if you'd like to discuss this further. 785-856-7030.



jfarmer83 1 year, 7 months ago


The main giveaway yesterday was soy-protein infused macaroni and cheese. We also had bags of canned fruits, vegetables, as well as canteloupes, tomatoes, onions, and sweet potatoes. Each client received an allocated amount of macaroni and cheese packages (each mac and cheese pack has six servings in it) and a bag of ONE of the above items (we would have distributed more, but the lines were huge). We also had bread for a certain amount of time, and then ran out.

You didn't get shorted. Quite a few folks at the end just received macaroni and cheese. You were certainly fortunate to receive a canteloupe and a bread product.

I apologize that you feel as though you were slighted. If you have any questions, or concerns, please call me. I'd love to chat with you some more.

Sincerely, Jeremy Farmer Executive Director, Just Food


shadowlady 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't know about anyone else, but all I got was 2 pkgs of mac & cheese, a cantalope, and a pkg of hambuger buns. Didn't get tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, nor any canned food. It's not that I'm ungrateful, cause I am very grateful, but when there is food that is to be given and you don't get it, well what can you say?? By the way, I was one of the first bunch of cars, so Meagon you should have been right down in front to see just exactly what people got.


Jean Robart 1 year, 7 months ago

what has this to do with the United Way food giveaway?


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