Shae Gamble could not stop smiling as she described the ASWSU Ku-Ah-Mah food drive that will take place on Saturday.
As co-chair of the student Native American organization, Gamble said Ku-Ah-Mah will team up with GIVE and the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) to host a food drive for the community. It will take place from 1-7 p.m. in front of Dissmores. All donations will be sent to the Community Action Center in Pullman.
Meaning'cougar'in the Nez Perce language, Ku-Ah-Mah brings culture to campus through their powwows and round dances.
The project was Gamble's idea. Throughout the last summer, she said she thought about implementing an event that would give back to the community.
“All of the events that we do are based on us relying on the community to come and support us, so I wanted to give back to the community,” Gamble said.
Gamble was inspired to do a food drive when she read about how the financial aid situation in Pullman was causing the local food banks to run out of food. She said reading one of the stories struck a nerve and, given her previous experience with volunteering at the Pullman Food Bank, she wanted to promote a food drive.
“If we could have got the ball rolling on this sooner, I would have,"she said."But it took at least four weeks to get a place, figure out what food bank we wanted to go through and get it advertised."
As the first food drive Ku-Ah-Mah is putting on, Gamble looked at this as a learning experience. The group is planning on putting on another food drive on Nov. 3. Between the two drives, she is hoping to gather 1,500 pounds of food.
“We do have people who have experience in doing it,” she said. “I'm asking for their assistance without having them do it because this is me — I want to be able take credit and responsibility for this.”
Gamble said she wants people to know and care about food drives and the food banks in our community, as well as see support for students.
“It's not just the students, even though a lot of students still don't have financial aid, but it also is the community we live in that is suffering,” she said.
Dan Maher, adviser of Ku-Ah-Mah, said that he is excited that the group is taking on extra work in order to benefit the community.
“They're doing it on their own,” Maher said. “There's no real incentive for them to do it except for that they're helping the community, which is pretty cool. As a native organization, I don't recall that Ku-Ah-Mah has ever done that.”
Maher said he would like to see Ku-Ah-Mah host food drives during the spring and summer months.
“This time of year everyone starts doing them,” he said. “What we don't realize is that, by the time spring rolls around and summer and all that, food banks are practically empty. It's not like it stops in January. People still have to eat all year round.”
Gamble said she is excited to see everything come together on Saturday. After planning since September, she wants to see the hard work pay off.
“Every little bit counts,” she said. “People think that their one little can of whatever that they donate isn't going to help. It is going to help some family or individual in need.”