Families are in need of food, and students are here to help

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

Joey Paxson is counting the days until the eighth annual Truman Heartland Community Foundation's Youth Advisory Council's Fill Those Trucks event.

Students from the three Independence School District high schools and the two Blue Springs high schools will be stationed outside area Hy-Vee stores collecting non-perishable food items from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 10, in hopes of collecting more than 40,000 items for the Community Services League.

‘We always need food – and as you can tell right now, our shelves are pretty full. But it goes out quickly, and another 40,000 items could take us through the summer and into the fall – and that would mean a lot of happy families in Blue Springs,’ said Community Services League warehouse manager Joey Paxson. High school students across Eastern Jackson County will help with a food-gathering event April 10 at area Hy-Vee stores.

"Do you realize what 40,000 food items would mean to our Community Services League center?" asked CSL warehouse manager Joey Paxson. "I've been here about a year, and the most we ever received was 33,000 items – and that came during Community Unity Week in Blue Springs when all the schools kind of compete to see who can make the most donations.”

"We had truck after truck after truck load of items. It was pretty amazing. We're still using some of those canned items. ... It just makes you feel good when you see a community come together, and April 10, all the area communities are going to be collecting good that will help their neighbors."

Local students will be asked to sign up next week.

"We have some amazing high school students sign up for this, and many of the other Truman Heartland Youth Advisory Council events," said Rachel Watkins, the director of programs and donor services at the Truman Heartland Community Foundation.

"The Youth Advisory Council empowers area students to take an active leadership role in their communities, teaching them how to give back through fundraising, grantmaking and volunteering.”

"This is a great opportunity to meet people in their communities, tell them about the Youth Advisory Council and encourage them to make a donation on their way out of the store."

And Paxson and the CSL volunteers are preparing for the next wave of donations.

"This has been an unusual year because of the pandemic," Paxson added. "Some people are afraid to go out of their houses, and others come in after calling to see what the protocol is here.”

"We always need food – and as you can tell right now, our shelves are pretty full. But it goes out quickly, and another 40,000 items could take us through the summer and into the fall – and that would mean a lot of happy families in Blue Springs."