Kalena is a third-year student at Kent State University, majoring in Political Science. She also has minors in Nonprofit Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Psychology. After receiving her bachelor’s she plans on continuing her education at Kent State by pursuing her master’s in Public Administration. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, traveling, and volunteering. Through her volunteer work on the Kent campus, she learned about this opportunity with AmeriCorps. She is passionate about reducing food insecurity and is excited to serve with the Flashes Fighting Hunger Pantry.
GREAT STORIES FROM OCC’S AMERICORPS STUDENT RESOURCE CENTER – KENT STATE UNIVERSITY
Meet Kalena Speicher, AmeriCorps member at Kent State University and read about how she’s fighting food insecurity by bringing visibility to the campus’ food pantry.
Before accepting my position as an AmeriCorps member for the Flashes Fighting Hunger (FFH), I had no knowledge of there being a food pantry on the Kent State University campus. As I stepped into my service role, it was important to me that I focused on engaging with students and educating them about FFH. I have taken every opportunity to get our name out there. Recently we partnered with Flash Activities Board, a student engagement organization, and hosted an herb and recipe event. Students decorated a pot, planted an herb, and received a coordinating recipe where most ingredients were able to be obtained at our food pantry.
Our pantry has exposed me to a variety of students and community members from different backgrounds that share something in common: they all are currently facing food insecurity. Although we serve roughly 100 individuals a week, the lack of knowledge of our pantry leaves me to believe that there is a larger community that shares that similarity. This is why my next focus has been expansion. At the beginning of April, we debuted our first grab-and-go snack cupboard. My next step is to curate meal kits to add to the cupboard.
As my term of service comes to a close, I have reflected on my time with the pantry and decided to extend my service until 2024!