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The Flint Hills Breadbasket

Volunteers Needed to Help Fight Food Insecurity in Riley County

The Flint Hills Breadbasket needs more volunteers to fulfill its mission of providing access to healthy food to the Riley County community. Since 1982, the Breadbasket has served as a lifeline for families and individuals in need, including active duty service members and veterans.

The need for the Breadbasket's services is great: almost 15,000 people in Riley County live in poverty, including 18% of children. Food insecurity can manifest in various ways, ranging from worrying about running out of food to skipping meals due to financial constraints or having to rely on calorie-dense foods that lack essential nutrients. The Breadbasket plays a critical role in addressing food insecurity by connecting those in need with access to nutritious food.

Karla Hagemeister, the Executive Director of Flint Hills Breadbasket, emphasizes, "There is no shame in needing the help of the Breadbasket. Everyone has needed help of some kind at some point."

The Breadbasket's services are accessible to anyone experiencing food insecurity residing in Riley County, St. George, or Fort Riley. Its market is open Monday through Friday, serving as a welcoming place where individuals and families can obtain the nourishment they require. The organization also partners with seven churches across town in order to better serve folks throughout the community.

Volunteers are the backbone of the Breadbasket's work, and there are numerous ways to get involved, from stocking shelves and sorting donations to greeting guests and contributing to community engagement and outreach efforts. The organization also maintains a garden, which welcomes all levels of gardening expertise to help provide fresh produce to their market. Volunteers play a crucial role in operations, handling tasks like driving, deliveries, order fulfillment, and community drive pickups. Additionally, the Breadbasket welcomes volunteers who want to utilize their technical or creative skills in their volunteer work.

The Breadbasket's work is made possible through the generosity of its donors. While the organization welcomes donations of dry goods, they also accept donations of fresh food, including vegetables and meat. "Many folks don't realize that we can accept fresh foods. We definitely are able to accept donations of fresh foods and those are absolutely valuable," says Karla. "Some local gardeners have started to share their abundance with us!" she adds.

In exciting news, the Manhattan Community Thanksgiving Dinner for the first time since 2019, and the Flint Hills Breadbasket is seeking volunteers to make this event a success.

If you're interested in volunteering or wish to stay updated on the Breadbasket's current needs, visit their website at flinthillsbreadbasket.org 

1. Fill out the volunteer information form at this link: flinthillsbreadbasket.org/volunteer.html

  • This takes less than 5 minutes.

2. Complete a volunteer orientation. 

  • The orientations take place on the first and third Thursdays of every month from 2pm to 4pm, and covers the values and scope of the FHBB’s work, as well as a tour of the facility. This is required for new volunteers.

3. Complete a training session. 

  • Training sessions typically take place in the afternoon and are scheduled by Jennie Jordan (jjordan@fhbbmhk.org).

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