The Baker Orange

SAC to host mobile soup kitchen

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In a city the size of Baldwin, homelessness is more of a myth than a physical reality. But on Monday, one staff member is aiming to raise awareness of the issue with the Legendary Project.

Organized by graduate assistant Shevonne Booze, the event gives students a chance to participate in a mobile soup kitchen. The project was started by Booze as a student in Chicago, but when she started her position at Baker, she realized that even in small-town America students could benefit from the experience.

“I think with Baker being a small, private and predominately white university it helps to bring it to this size of institution for these students and maybe some staff to know that it’s happening around them,” Booze said. “Often times they forget what happens outside of this community, but not everyone gets the opportunity of a food plan and all you can eat endless buffet once you walk in.”

The mobile soup kitchen will begin in the lobby of Irwin Hall at 11 a.m. with the packaging of lunches. The bags, which will contain bottles of water, bags of chips, apples and napkins, will then be distributed to those in need in the Lawrence and Topeka areas.

Booze understands the fears associated with the task; she believes that it can be considered dangerous, or uncomfortable in the least to pass out food to the homeless. But she wants students to be able to find the significance of the task.

“You have to make somewhat of a judgment call to see if they are in need, even though we are always taught not to judge people,” Booze said. “Some people who are in need might be in a suit and tie; homelessness looks a lot different in different places. My goal is for the students to be extremely comfortable in doing this.”

In addition to helping the homeless, Booze also hopes to help eradicate students’ fears to help expand awareness of the issue, which is hard to understand when in a city of this size.

“I want students to delve deeper into the issues,” Booze said. “I want them to learn their stories, how they got there, what else do they need, what shelter are they going to, how can we help the shelter, how can we help on a larger scale.”

In the fall, Booze and Baker Serves hosted a few of the mobile soup kitchens. Booze also hopes to do more than one this spring. But in order to increase the longevity of the venture, she needs students to buy into the importance and impact of the project.

“I’m an activist,” Booze said. “My first goal is to get students on board, then the goal would be to do it once a month, and in the future I can see it twice a month. In order to be impactful, we have to be consistent in what we do.”