Though the campus is quiet, Newman University’s mission to serve the community lives on.
Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life Joseph Shepard is working hard to uphold his values of service in the midst of the storm. In order to assist students in the Wichita district, Shepard has been making weekly food deliveries through collaborative efforts with USD 259.
“I believe as an institution rooted in service, it’s vital that we take advantage of every opportunity to give back.”
Through this act of service, Shepard is personally ensuring that the university’s ideal of service is fulfilled, as he and several others drive across Wichita every Friday.
“The deliveries consist of members of the Newman University community and a USD 259 school member delivering weekend snack packs to students across Wichita,” explained Shepard. “The weekend snack packs are provided to USD 259 in partnership with the Kansas Food Bank. The deliveries are really simple. Once we arrive at the house, one of us exits the car and delivers the weekend snack pack to the parents or the child personally. It truly is a humbling experience.”
Shepard also stressed the great importance of these deliveries, expressing the need for aid in the face of this foreign situation.
“This is vital to the educational success of our students because we know that when students don’t have access to the food they need to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, it impacts their ability to learn and retain information. In the midst of COVID-19, it is inspiring to see that our school district is collaborating with community partners to ensure we’re meeting our students where they are.”
This simple act of service shows just how much it means to help one another.
“When we all do our small part, the greater good benefits. In this season, it’s not about ‘me’ but ‘we.’ People are struggling economically, emotionally and physically. As a service-based institution, it’s important that we’re leading the charge in setting the example in giving back during these dark times. Serving our community during these dark times allows us to be a light for someone else.”
Such a message is not exclusively meant for members of a community or community leaders, rather, it conveys the fact that everyone must unite through both words and actions in the name of humanity.
“During this time, our communities, organizations, institutions and leaders must come together to support each other to ensure we make it out of this pandemic stronger than before. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.’ Now is the time for us to step up and serve when, where and how we can.”
Newman University staff, faculty and students are all invited to help with deliveries, which take place Fridays at 10:30 a.m. Anyone wishing to provide assistance may contact Joseph Shepard at 316-942-4291, ext. 2250 or [email protected].