Kent State Campus Ministries Outreach to Community

Kelly Powell

Whether a fraternity or sorority, support group or campus ministry, all groups look to do one thing: Improve the well-being or success of someone or something.

Kent State Chi Alpha and Kent State Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) are enacting unique food outreach initiatives, titled feedONE and Lord Lunches respectively.

FeedONE is backed by the national organization Convoy of Hope and works primarily to feed hungry children through individual donations of $10. This monetary amount goes toward feeding one child for a month.

“The idea is that, if you can’t feed 100, feed one,” said Jesse Cook, Chi Alpha campus pastor. “Whether you love Jesus or not, you can get behind feeding a hungry kid.”

This year, the campus ministry hopes to host a “feedONE fun run” in order to increase donations.

“We’re trying to champion what FeedOne is and the great benefits of it,” Cook said.

One of those benefits may be considered the direct deposit from the donor to the organization.

“Because of our partnership, there are already established feeding programs that the funds go to,” Cook said. “A lot of what you’re doing is going directly to a hungry kid.”

Cook said that Chi Alpha’s primary motivation and model is the life of Jesus Christ.

“Jesus had an emphasis on reaching out to others,” he said. “He wants us to treat people the way we want to be treated.”

Maggie McGuire, a freshman nutrition major, agreed. Her favorite aspect of the program is the give-and-take between each participant and child.

“It’s a blessing for them and a blessing for the one in the race,” she said.       

Because of this mindset, Chi Alpha not only looks to feed hungry children but hungry college students as well.

“We want to develop a habit of generosity,” Cook said. “We see Christ taking care of people who were marginalized by society.”

FCA hopes to do the same by creating the “Lord Lunches” program, which takes place on varied Saturday afternoons at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kent. The church hosts 10-15 students who spend about two and a half hours buying and preparing food together.

“We are serving the community; we’re not just called to Kent State,” said Jenna Matson, a staff member of the Coalition for Christian Outreach Campus Ministry.

Although the organization is faith-based, the event itself includes only a prayer at the beginning of the meal.

“The ‘sermon’ is through our lives, our service and our conversation,” Matson said. “We just want to uphold what Jesus is about because it gets distorted a lot of the time.”

She mentioned how FCA strived to “give in the way that (we) have been given to.” The organization does this essentially through being a listening ear to the people they serve meals to.

 “We’re all about being there to listen and care about them,” she said. “They just always thank us so much, and it brightens their day.”

Not only does it brighten the days of the recipients of the meals, but it assists the students of FCA as well. Matson said the service might connect students who would not have known each other otherwise.  

The most recent Lord Lunch was Saturday, Oct. 10, and the next one will not occur until April. Trinity Lutheran Church’s Saturday service slots are quick to fill up, but even if FCA is not assigned that weekend, FCA and community members are still able to participate.

“We get a lot of joy,” Matson said. “I love that people from different backgrounds become unified and build relationships as a result of these times.

Kelly Powell is the religion reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].