WBU freshmen hit streets for charity

PLAINVIEW – New freshmen at Wayland Baptist University will have barely moved their things into dorm rooms before they’re out on the streets as part of a community service project in conjunction with Koinonia, Wayland’s freshmen orientation event.

Called “Fish for FISH”, the service project will have students out on Monday collecting nonperishable food items for Plainview’s Faith in Sharing House in various parts of Plainview. Specifically, students will hit the neighborhoods south of Fifth Street and west of Ennis Street, including Westridge, LaMesa, Ridgecrest, Westgate and Grandview.

Koinonia leaders will be visiting the same area on Sunday, Aug. 21, to deliver empty bags to the residences, then students will return the next day between 1-4 p.m. to collect filled bags. Residents who will not be home during those times may leave the food on their doorstep.

In addition to the community at large, the Wayland community will be participating in the food drive as well, with faculty and staff bringing filled bags to campus for the collection.

“We want to get our new students involved in the community early on and pull them together as a class,” said Teresa Moore, coordinator of student activities. “We want them to give back to the community that has been so supportive of us.”

Moore said the community service project was added to Koinonia last year with plans for making it an annual event. Event planners chose Faith In Sharing House as the beneficiary of the project because it worked well with the term “fish,” often used to describe freshmen.

In their first effort, the collection was a huge success, Moore said. Several pickup trucks, vans and even the Wayland bus were used to collect food, with all packed full. Students spent three hours collecting bags and making deliveries to FISH.

This year, Moore hopes to see even more food collected for the local agency, and Wayland plans to enlist a group to work at FISH to help stock the shelves as the food arrives.

According to Clinton Kennedy, a longtime volunteer and board president for FISH, the donations come at a good time.

“Anytime of the year is a good time for donations, but normally we get more in the fall and winter,” Kennedy said. “Since we’re not supported by the government or the city, we depend on people to furnish food and money to keep us going.”

While the agency welcomes canned food, Kennedy said there is a special need for flour, sugar, dried beans and rice, boxed noodles, canned tuna and meats, peanut butter and bar hand soap. The agency also welcomes cash donations that can be used to purchase fresh items and meats.

“We’re helping twice as many people now as when I first started 13 years ago. We’re up to about 800 people each month,” Kennedy said. For more information on helping Faith in Sharing House, contact the agency at 293-8008 from 1-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.