Ashley Seibert, Campus Food Bank
Ashley Seibert was always looking for a way to get involved in campus life, “a way to help out” as she recalls it now. As a second-year student on campus, she heard the call for volunteers from the Campus Food Bank during Week of Welcome and knew that she had found a cause she could believe in. Four years later, she’s the executive director, coordinating the delivery of nutritious and balanced food hampers to more than 2,500 people every year.
The Campus Food Bank works to support food security on campus by providing food hampers to anyone who lacks the resources to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. To Seibert, food security is “the ability to be healthy and avoid hunger,” reinforcing the essential role that the Campus Food Bank plays in campus community health, well-being and sustainability.
The Campus Food Bank relies entirely on donations, operating dozens of fundraising and donation events every year. For example, Trick-or-Eat, their biggest annual food drive, brings in up to 10,000 pounds of food in one night of collections as volunteers get into the Halloween spirit and ask community members for food donations.
Seibert cherishes her time spent as a volunteer; getting to know clients and watching them change and grow inspires her to continue her work. She remembers one particular occasion when a client who had been using the Campus Food Bank services regularly had a new addition to their food hamper order – a moment that was especially meaningful as she realized her work was now helping someone feed and care for a new baby.
“Now in my role as executive director I get to watch volunteers see the client’s face light up when they receive the hamper,” said Seibert.
Sustainability is woven into a lot of the food bank’s operations, products and services. Siebert commented on the value in reusing food that might otherwise be wasted, as well as the importance they place on incorporating green practices into their workplace. Sustainability is so important to Seibert because “food comes from the earth, it is what we thrive on and are providing to people, so we have to respect it.”For example, all eggs included in food hampers come from a local, family-owned farm, reducing the emissions associated with long distance transportation and supporting the local economy. Seibert also encourages people to drop off any extra or unwanted reusable bags and used egg cartons for reuse in the food hampers.
First time users of the Campus Food Bank must register in person at Suite 040J in the basement of the U of A Student's Union Building. After registering, food hampers can be ordered online through the Campus Food Bank’s hamper request form.