Student Life

Bees Help Nourish the Community

Above: Student volunteers are sorting produce. (Photo courtesy of Kaylee Parsons)

SAU students volunteer at the Bee Entrepreneurs Club food pantry to help feed members of the Davenport community. 

“This food pantry has made such a difference in my life,” says one of the Bee Nourished food pantry’s participants. On the first Tuesday of each month, 36 local families are given the opportunity to be nourished with a variety of foods. “We give families almost everything they need, which can include meat, dairy, produce, canned food and other various items,” says President Ali Cain of the SAU Bee Entrepreneurs Club  

The Bee Entrepreneur Club’s advisor, Dr. Jason Senjem, introduced the idea of sponsoring and helping with the food pantry in 2022, and the club is still helping today. “I really think we are making a difference. I am always trying to find innovative ways to encourage students in active learning, and this opportunity is helping them get out in the community to do some good,” says Dr. Senjem. 

Members of the community that meet the food pantry’s requirements simply pull their cars up to the J. B. Young Opportunity Center, located at 1702 N Harrison St., and SAU student volunteers meet them with a grocery cart full of food. “We help elderly and special needs individuals get the quantity and quality of food they need while making this as easy as possible for them,” says food pantry organizer, Reverend Ralph Kelly of Vine Ministry.  

SAU volunteer, Lindsey Frazier says, “This is a very eye-opening experience, and it feels so good giving back to the community. It is really cool to help and makes me realize how much we take for granted.” 

Above: Student volunteers loading groceries into the car. (Photo courtesy of Kaylee Parsons)

“I think students get two things out of volunteering here. The first is learning from what receivers say and how grateful people are for nourishing food; the second is the bonding and fellowship that you get from locally doing some good,” says Dr. Senjem. One Bee Nourished receiver says, “This food is so generous and is such a lifesaver for us.” 

Reverend Kelly says he passed many of the pantry’s operations over to Bee Entrepreneurs President Ali Cain and that she is a great leader. One of her biggest responsibilities is to order the food from the River Bend Food Bank a week before the pick-up date. On pantry pick-up days between 6-8 a.m., Ali and other volunteers unload the truck. From 8-10 a.m. they sort the items and are ready for distribution between 4-6 p.m. 

SAU alumni and pantry coordinator, Janice Bryson says people in need come from different circumstances. “We help a woman with cancer who wears an oxygen mask that simply cannot stand in a grocery store line forever,” says Bryson. She works alongside Cain and Reverend Kelly to help this pantry run smoothly. 

“St. Ambrose has been present and fully committed to this operation for over two years and continues to give,” says Reverend Kelly. He says the mission is to stomp out hunger. SAU students are doing their part to help nourish and give back to the community. The Bee Nourished food pantry is located at 1702 N Harrison St., and there are multiple two-hour shifts students can sign up for. To volunteer, contact [email protected] or click here