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Volunteers see the fruit of their efforts at KNI food distribution



TOPEKA, Kan. – A larger than usual crowd greeted volunteers at a food giveaway Thursday.

Volunteers from Town and Country Christian Church see the difference their effort can make. The church teams up with Harvesters for a monthly distribution at Kansas Neurological Institute. Wednesday, they gave out nearly 50,000 lbs. of food to people in need.

Victor Silva of Topeka was among those who joined the line.

“The line was over a mile and a half long,” he said. “I said, ‘Grandpa, I’m going to go ahead and walk.’ (I) walked around to see if I could give a hand. “

People who are retired, disabled and even children were among the volunteers braving the cold and snow to lend a hand.

“My best friend is legally blind and she helps all the time,” Volunteer Box Manager Diane Fairbanks said.

With the increased need for food, organizers say they’ve also seen an increase in the variety of foods being donated. Catfish, chicken, fresh produce, beans and milk are a few items people received. This month, they even got bacon which seemed to catch everyone’s eye, and a few treats, too, including Russell Stover candies and flowers.

“One woman told me a year ago that was the first time she’d had meat in months,” Fairbanks said. “We had people cry when they get stuff like that and it just, it makes you feel good that you’re able to help somebody feel good about themselves in times like this.”

Volunteers say all of the donations are a blessing.

“When we first started I’d have people come up and be in tears,” Volunteer Coordinator Cathy Deitering said. “‘I’ve never done this before, you know I’ve always been the giver I’ve never had to ask’ and I said but ‘that’s why we’re here.’”

Volunteers say it is a life changing experience to be able to give back to those in need. This distribution is held the first Thursday of the month.