Students help fight food insecurity during CAS drive


Zadie Martin

ACCEPTING DONATIONS. Food is dropped off in the Davern entrance through Mar. 4.

Community Action Service is hosting a school wide food drive Feb. 22-Mar. 4. Members of the community are asked to bring non perishable food items such as canned soups or beans and other useful resources such as feminine hygiene products to the Davern entrance for collection.

Minnesota BIPOC communities are disproportionally impacted by food insecurity, so while Minnesota’s 8.3% of households unable to provide adequate meals for at least one member of the household looks like success in comparison to the 11.1% national average, there is still much work to be done.

CAS advisor Andrea Moerer has been in contact with organizations in the Twin Cities to partner them with SPA. After all the donations are collected, the food will be split up evenly and driven by CAS members to the Department of Indian Work, Hallie Q. Brown and Neighborhood House.

Kat Bragg, a co-leader of CAS, said that the group focuses on making plans for community service that involve all of SPA when possible. They find that food drives are a great way to boost community engagement with organizations.

Part of the reason we like doing food drives is because we think it’s really easy to get people from the SPA community involved.

— Kat Bragg

“We like to give back to local communities; that’s sort of what CAS does. Part of the reason we like doing food drives is because we think it’s really easy to get people from the SPA community involved. Especially since it’s really easy to bring in food, it’s not a huge commitment, and you don’t have to pay for anything,” Bragg said.

In the past two years, the pandemic has stunted much of CAS’s work because they normally plan large get-togethers to build a bond between SPA and the greater community. Large group activities such as the annual service day cannot occur in the same manner as previous years due to concerns about transmissions.

“In past years, pre-COVID, mostly what we do is planned service events…we can do service events in school like the food drive we’re having in the next few weeks, and earlier this year, where we did a bedding drive,” Bragg said.

There have been a lot of factors going against people who are not currently able to afford food due to the impact in the workplace with COVID.

“I think COVID has impacted food banks and other organizations because of data I’ve read and newspapers are saying that demands [for resources] are high. I think it’s largely COVID, but I also think it is in part [because of] wages not keeping up with inflation and people’s needs,” Moerer said.

COVID has made it hard for others to give back to the community, but CAS has organized the food drive to push SPA back to its roots. Everyone is encouraged to participate by bringing canned goods and nonperishable items. Donations can be dropped off at the boxes in Davern Lobby.