Centre students involved with the Food Recovery Network pose for a photo in the Campus Center kitchen.

#CentreService at the forefront for Poverty and Homelessness Week

by Matt Overing

Centre College News

Students at Centre College are taking charge in multiple initiatives during Poverty and Homelessness Week, Nov. 14-19.

Throughout the past two weeks, Centre’s Food Recovery Network and STAND Student Service Initiative sponsored a food drive for the Housing Authority of Danville’s food pantries. Nathan Whitlock ’22, who serves as an AmeriCorps member in the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, said the Danville Housing Authority reported that its pantry was nearly bare. The Centre community answered the call.

“Centre's food drives collect items for food-insecure Kentuckians, of course, but they also raise awareness about the chronic issue of hunger in our communities,” he said. “When Danville's Housing Authority called for help restocking their pantry, our community responded with more than 150 donated food items in less than two weeks.

“Being part of a responsive and generous community makes my job easy,” he continued, “but it's not lost on me how much work student leaders put into organizing and learning about the authentic needs of our community.”

Centre College students prepare soup for Soup's On Us, a local non-profit.

One of those student leaders is Emma Ridener ’23, who helps lead the STAND Student Service Initiative. STAND is dedicated to direct service and philanthropy work within the local community.

“As a member of service-minded organizations on campus, I think it is important for us as the Centre community to realize that even though we may only be in Danville for our undergraduate studies, this is our home for the four years we spend here,” Ridener said. “I believe there is no better way to invest in the community that we call home and that supports us in every facet of our lives than to seek to meet its broader needs.”

Whitlock said that food drives are a necessity to help food pantries, particularly as the weather turns cold.

“As a student and recent alum, I've worked closely with Emma through the STAND Student Service Initiative to organize food drives,” he said. “We've learned that food drives are ordinary and often overlooked, but they are critical for fighting hunger wherever it is found.”

Centre's Food Recovery Network chapter worked alongside Parkhurst Dining staff and met twice monthly to support Soup's On Us, a local non-profit that supplies weekend boxed meals to food insecure individuals in Danville. Since starting in October, students have prepared more than 42 gallons of soup for the community. Liz Patterson '25 (president) and Phillip-Michael Collins '25 (treasurer) help lead the Centre Food Recovery Network chapter.

The College will continue its food collection during a talk with Stachelle Bussey on Monday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in Weisiger Theatre. Bussey, a Louisville native, is the founder and executive director of The Hope Buss, a non-profit organization that operates five initiatives with the goal of addressing food insecurity, education, health and wellness, emergency services and community management.

The Office of Civic and Community Engagement will also host a luncheon panel on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 11:30 a.m. with Gwen Campbell from the Danville Housing Authority, Roger Fox from Shepherd’s House, and Amy Anness from the Boyle County Health Department.

“Through the continual work of the Office of Civic & Community Engagement, as well as the organization and passion exhibited by student leaders on campus, the Centre community is giving back to the region that welcomes us home every semester,” Ridener said. “Hunger and houselessness are not foreign concepts for the Danville and Boyle County communities, and it is a privilege to combat these issues alongside dedicated members of the Centre community and beyond.”  


Convocation: The Hope Buss: Delivering Hope to Those in Poverty & the Unhoused 
November 14, 7-8 p.m.
Weisiger Theater, free & open to the public

Office of Civic & Community Engagement Info Table
Learn more about local service opportunities and our P&H Week Community Partners
November 15, Lunch

Learn at Lunch: Kahoot!
Learn about the issue of poverty and homelessness in Kentucky
November 16, Lunch

Community Partner Luncheon Panel
RSVP required.
November 17, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Campus Center Ewen Room

Meal Swipe Donations
Students will be able to donate a swipe to support Boyle County’s Family Services Association. Thanks to Parkhurst Dining, a portion of every donated swipe will benefit families in Danville-Boyle County.
November 16-18, Lunch