Salute Our Heroes: Retiree wants to help solve problems with food insecurity

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Vickie James coordinates the work of the Food and Farm Council which serves as a network hub of community partners focusing on food insecurity, food waste, and education. Vickie is retired but loves helping people and building relationships.

“Every time I think about whether is it time to just let this go I realize that who I am and what I care about is wrapped up in people, people in this community, and it’s very important to me to see everyone be their very best,” said James.

The council’s mission is to provide a forum for local food issues and a platform to coordinate action.

“I had this vision and have had it all of my career that equity in a food system has to do with having healthy communities so if you want to have a healthy community you have to start with daily basic needs and food should be a daily basic need it should not be a privilege it should not be for those that have additional money, we need that for all,” said James.

Some of the council’s programs include blessing boxes, kitchen-restored kits, power of produce, and the Konza student table. Among the more than 50 partners involved are K-State, Riley County Health Department, and Flint Hills Breadbasket.

“Knowing that we’re reaching families in need and lifting them up supporting them making sure that children are fed in this community and being available at different touch points throughout the community which is one of the great aspects of the food and farm council it is a hub and from that hub, it reaches many areas,” said Cathy Jones, a dietitian for WIC at Riley County.

Many of the partners said Vickie’s passion is contagious.

“Vickie’s a great mentor, personally and professionally, she has a passion and she sees passion in others and can draw that out, shes brought people together around the table that have similar ideas and brought ideas out of people they didn’t know they had and so having her in the community means the world to me and to the partners we work with,” said Jones.

Vickie said it’s not all about her but the partners that help and the relationships she builds.

“We can’t give up, it doesn’t matter how big the barriers, the limited funding, the more challenges of more and more people moving here that may be food insecure or have limited transportation, they need our help,” said James.

James mentioned people can volunteer anytime by visiting their website or sending them an email.