Bods Feeding Bods helps students during crisis

Bods Feeding Bods: Bods Feeding Bods focuses on providing students with essential items such as food, clothing and commodities. The food pantry can be accessed by contacting a campus RA or the Washburn Police Department.

Bods Feeding Bods is a campus program focused on providing students in need with essential items such as food, clothing and other commodities.

Located in Kuehne Hall, room 101, Bods Feeding Bods has provided students with aid during difficult times over the past several years through the efforts of volunteers and donations from the local community.

The organization got its start when a survey was sent to the student body to assess food insecurity on campus.

The results showed a majority of students saw the addition of a pantry as beneficial to the university.

Many students go through hardships while attending college courses across the nation, including right here in Topeka, Kansas. Bods Feeding Bods seeks to alleviate the stresses of college students by providing help in essential areas to those who overlook them during the busier times of the semester – or simply lack the funds to acquire them easily.

“We serve people on campus who do not have the resources to get the food and commodities that they need,” said Pantry Coordinator and Psychology major Matthew Smoker. “A lot of the people using it are foreign exchange students or those who can’t go home due to their hometowns being pandemic hotspots. New people are continuing to arrive as well. They might just be a student who needs help, but some have families who are suffering and need help right now. We don’t discriminate on who comes in.”

Smoker ensures things are kept stocked and that the pantry is maintained correctly.

As the pandemic worsened earlier in the spring, Smoker became the only member of the organization to continue attending to the needs of the pantry to reduce the risk of contact with other people.

His efforts during the pandemic have kept it operational and have allowed it to continue to serve those in need.

“We’ve seen a lot of people who haven’t used the pantry before start to come in,” said Smoker. “We also had a reporter come in from KSNT to do a piece on the pantry. Letters have been sent out to alumni at Washburn. Outside donations have increased since the pandemic broke out. Getting the word out so people know that we’re an option is our biggest focus.”

Bods Feeding Bods has extended its operating hours past the spring semester as the effects of COVID-19 continue.

Normally, the organization closes during the summer and winter breaks but will now be open into June.

Smoker has assured the campus that, if demand is still high for the pantry, then it will remain open longer if necessary.

“Our pantry is stocked from a variety of donations,” said Emma Staats, Washburn liberal arts graduate. “Individuals drop off food here and there. Non-perishables are our focus. Harvesters does help to donate as we have a partnership with them. Most of our donations come from our own community. In addition to that, ‘Can Emporia’ donations come to us.”

Bods Feeding Bods is accepting donations to keep the pantry stocked.

Food items that are high in protein like peanut butter, soups, microwave meals and fruits are in high demand.

A fridge was recently added to the pantry allowing them to keep some produce and frozen goods stocked. Commodities such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap and feminine hygiene products are accepted as well.

The pantry is open from 3-5 p.m. on Saturdays only. However, it can be accessed by anyone if they contact a campus RA or the Washburn Police Department.

All a student needs to access the pantry is a valid Washburn ID and sign in when they arrive.

For more information about the organization or to find out how to volunteer or donate, please contact Matthew Smoker at matthew.smoker@washburn.edu or visit the Bods Feeding Bods homepage at https://washburn.edu/about/community/learning/bods-feeding-bods.html.

Edited by Shelby Spradling, Wesley Tabor

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