Flint Hills Breadbasket continues to serve those who are food insecure during the pandemic

Elizabeth Rogers (left), then-junior in agriculture education, and Debbie Madsen, Manhattan resident, volunteer at the Flint Hills Breadbasket by separating food items into their respective categories on April 5, 2016. (Archive Photo by Miranda Snyder | Collegian Media Group)

Maribeth Kieffer, executive director of the Flint Hills Breadbasket, said that despite an influx of traffic as local schools and many businesses have closed, the Flint Hills Breadbasket is well-stocked and has had no problems providing assistance to those in need thus far.

“As of right now, we’re doing fine on food,” Kieffer said. “We had a really strong holiday season and a lot of donations and we still have some of that.”

Kieffer said while the Breadbasket has plenty of food to continue serving the community at the current time, she predicts food will start running out and more donations will be needed by the middle of May.

She said she has no doubt the community will step up to assist those in need when that time comes, she said.

“I’ve lived in a lot of different communities, but Manhattan is hands down one of the best,” Kieffer said. “This community is fantastic, and has never disappointed us.”

The Flint Hills Breadbasket has limited its hours due to the pandemic, but is still operating at the same scale it was before. Kieffer said it’s taking many precautions during this time to ensure the safety of both volunteers and community members.

“Our volunteers are wearing gloves and masks and we’re constantly sanitizing absolutely everything,” she said. “We have a pretty solid system in place. We’re just trying to stay safe, serve the community and use common sense while we do it.”

The Flint Hills Breadbasket is currently not looking to take in any new volunteers for safety reasons, but Kieffer said she would love the help and any sort of donations to adjust to a new normal after the pandemic slows down.

Kieffer expressed gratitude for the Manhattan community and those who have assisted or donated to the Breadbasket during this time.

“I really would like to thank the Manhattan community for all they’ve done for us and continue to do for us at the Flint Hills Breadbasket to keep us open so we can continue to serve members of the community that are in need, especially in times like these,” she said.