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CMU Department of Business gets out of the classroom and into the community

Every Friday, roughly 2,000 local students grab a food bag at their school to take home for the weekend. In these bags are two dinners, two lunches, two breakfasts and a snack. It’s called the Backpack Program and it’s helping to feed thousands of children that would otherwise go hungry on the weekend. 

“Childhood hunger is pervasive in our community,” said Kids Aid Program Assistant Kristen Stanfield. “In School District 51, 50% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, and often times these kids need food over the weekend. We’re doing what we can to reach them.”

When Professional Staff Assistant for the Department of Business Annie Shoberg first heard this, she and her husband took action. They went to the store, got a backpack and filled it with food. Fast forward to September 13, and she’s back doing the same thing — only this time she’s with 20 students and faculty from Colorado Mesa University’s Department of Business.

“Part of something we teach within the classroom is how important it is for businesses to give back to their community. Here we are leading by example,” Shoberg said.

The business department does a service project every year.

"CMU’s Department of Business is proud to be part of this local community.  Each fall, our faculty and students work alongside each other to make a difference," said Business Department Head Christine Noel, PhD. 

Last year, they partnered with Habitat for Humanity and sponsored a family over the holidays. This year, they thought they’d choose something tied closely to education. That’s when Shoberg remembered Kids Aid.  

“We started recruiting faculty and students and we had so much interest. People were really excited about this so we thought we would do a donation drive alongside it. We were able to pull together about 1,000 pieces of individual food items for kids,” said Shoberg.

The Department of Business took their donations to Kids Aid and spent the afternoon packing food bags.

“When I heard the business department was doing this, I wanted to be a part of it, I wanted to be a part of the change,” said senior business student Bright Owusu. “When I was young I didn’t have this kind of help, so now that I’m older I realize I can give back and help others out.”

“I’m happy to be here to contribute to what they’re doing,” said Miranda Crissman, who is a student in the MBA 3+2 Program.

According to Stanfield, 70% of their funding comes from donations while 30% comes from grants.

"The community support really is amazing.The town just wraps their hearts around these kids," said Stanfield. 

Kids Aid happily accepts food donations, though donating dollars can help get more food to local families.

“We have buying power with the Community Food Bank, which means we can stretch the dollar further," said Stanfield. “What might cost someone at the grocery store $3, for us to buy it from the food bank would cost us $1.”

Shoberg said volunteering at Kids Aid was a great opportunity for everyone to work together and have fun while making a difference.

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Written by Kelsey Coleman