Students in field

Feeding America and Finlandia’s The Table Distribute 16,000 pounds of food

October 17, 2015

Feeding AmericaBy Chelsea Blanck

They were bundled up in warm clothes on a frigid fall day with empty boxes in hand, waiting to be filled with food.

On September 18th, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank (Feeding America), Campus Ministries’ The Table, and over 70 of Finlandia’s students volunteered to serve 16,000 pounds of food to 1,100 community members.

“People of all walks of life were served, no questions asked, except their name and family size,” said Finlandia University Campus Pastor, Soren Schmidt. The services that Feeding America had to offer were given to anyone in the community.

“Many people in the community seemed appreciative,” said Finlandia Nursing student, Kathleen Janowiecki.

This was the first time that Feeding America has come to Finlandia, and they will return on a quarterly basis. The next time Feeding America arrives will be sometime in December, although there is not an exact date at this time.


Feeding America brought fresh produce and dairy. The items that were brought to Finlandia and the weight of the items are in the table to the right.

Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank came from Comstock, MI, and receives its food from donated surplus food.

Feeding America (a mobile food bank) was brought to Finlandia University through a partnership that The Table has with Feeding America. Which entails that The Table (a student needs pantry at Finlandia University) is responsible for gathering volunteers and a site for when Feeding America comes. Feeding America also uses Finlandia’s 501C3 nonprofit status to be able to collect and transport food here affordably. 

The Table also partners with many local places to provide healthy options for Finlandia students. Partners include: the Ryan Street Community Garden, Keweenaw Co-op, and the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA). CUFBA is made up of colleges and universities that share information on how to better serve the needs of students.

The Table started with a grant written by Schmidt to the Siebert Lutheran Foundation of $20,000 in 2013. The Table included: food, toiletries, and a new kitchen facility in the lower level of the Chapel of St. Matthew.

The Table will bring in guest speakers to speak about living and cooking healthfully, and will provide cooking lessons. In addition, The Table will prepare meals for people to share in the chapel together.

There are donation bins throughout Finlandia’s campus for people to donate items (list of locations on the right). Bins are checked biweekly on Wednesdays.Locations

To access The Table you can talk to Soren Schmidt or anyone on the Campus Ministry team (Nate Jarvi, James Vankleeck, and Chelsea Blanck).

The Table treats its students with respect, so The Table is on a confidential basis and there is a small amount of paperwork for the students to sign, which is just for regulating.

“While The Table is primarily for the students; the Feeding America is for the entire community, because we believe that living in a community also means serving one another,” said Schmidt.

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