Michigan students spend spring break working in Region 8

Michigan students spend spring break working in Region 8
Food Bank of NEA (Source: KAIT-TV)
Food Bank of NEA (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Food Bank on Northeast Arkansas got some out of state help.

Twelve students from Central Michigan University rolled into Jonesboro Sunday night.

Monday morning they got up and headed straight to the food bank to go to work.

"The Alternative Spring Break program that we have at Central is really full circle," Junior Dana Blankenship said. "So, it's a way to explore a different part of the United States and work with a community partner and learn about other social issues. Here in Arkansas we're working with the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas with rural poverty. So, there's a lot to do."

Blankenship said this program focuses on three things.

"Direct service, which we're doing now," Blankenship said. "Education, so we're learning about the issue and getting surrounding background information and then also reflection."

Program Coordinator for the Food Bank of NEA Erin King said volunteer help is imperative to their operation.

"It's really fantastic for us to have them here," King said. "We're so grateful for those in our community who come to help. But it's very exciting for us to have this group here who have dedicated an entire week just to helping us and serving our community where it needs it the most."

Blankenship said she and her fellow students were eager to dive right in.

"It's a really great opportunity," Blankenship said. "There are so many other things these students could be doing. Something that I'm proud to say that they all wanted to come and on their spring break and get their hands on experience and try something different. There are some seniors here who are sacrificing their spring break. They want to get involved and you have that opportunity to learn so much about a different part of the U.S. and how you can help."

King said many people are still unaware of how large the number is for those at risk of hunger right here in Region 8.

"We serve 5,000 individuals a week," King said. "We have a service area of 12 counties. We have over 100 partner agencies with us and we do several different programs, like our Cooking Matters Program and our Commodities Distribution."

King said anyone can make a huge difference in another person's life.

"We have so many different ways that you can volunteer here," King said. "You may not think that what you have to offer is a lot, but it can really help and go a long way helping feed people right here in Northeast Arkansas."

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