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Students open $100 Solution™ House for free monthly meals

Each month eight to 10 WKU students and staff visit the food pantry at WKU’s Office of Sustainability to obtain food and sometimes hygiene items. The five students in The $100 Solution™ Living Learning Community (THDS LLC) learned of the food insecurity last fall and decided to assist in efforts to address local hunger and homelessness through hosting free monthly meals.

The five students in The $100 Solution™ Living Learning Community are hosting free monthly meals to address local hunger and homelessness. From left: Madison Beyer, Michael Shelton, Kurtis Spears, Ariel Moore and Karina Bruce will host an open house and meal on April 13 at 1534 Chestnut St. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

The five students in The $100 Solution™ Living Learning Community are hosting free monthly meals to address local hunger and homelessness. From left: Madison Beyer, Michael Shelton, Kurtis Spears, Ariel Moore and Karina Bruce will host an open house and meal on April 13 at 1534 Chestnut St. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

“Last semester we discovered that there are students and staff at WKU who are hungry,” said Ariel Moore, a WKU sophomore from Owensboro.

The $100 Solution™ LLC brings together students who live and serve together by partnering with campus and community partners to solve a community-determined need with $100. Moore and the other four THDS LLC students decided to address food insecurity needs by opening up their home for a free monthly meal.  “We wanted offer a comfortable space for people to enjoy a meal and partake in social interaction,” Moore said. The purpose of these dinners is to be a place for students, faculty and staff who are suffering with food insecurities to get a warm home-cooked meal.

The students first opened their home for dinner during Thanksgiving last year. They prepared food from the WKU Food Pantry and food purchased from donations. “It’s important to us. We feel as if our house is one that should serve the community in a variety of ways. By opening up our home and serving dinner, we are providing an opportunity for people to come together and talk to people that we may otherwise never meet,” said Michael Shelton, a WKU sophomore from Owensboro.

The $100 Solution™ LLC students decided to plan three meals this semester to help determine whether the dinners will continue year after year. Kurtis Spears of Burkesville, Karina Bruce of Louisville and Madison Beyer of Paducah also live in the THDS LLC and help coordinate the monthly meals and other service activities.

“The house is important because it brings together a group of people from different backgrounds with different strengths to solve problems with $100,” Spears said. “I always thought big projects took a lot of money, but a big project can still be just as impactful with $100.”

In addition to the monthly meals, the students started working with United Way of Southern Kentucky recently to support efforts to increase awareness of the 2-1-1 system for the community.  The 2-1-1 system is a free and confidential information and referral helpline for the community.

Campus and community members are invited to The $100 Solution Living Learning Community’s Open House and April meal from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (April 13). The house is located at 1534 Chestnut St.

For information on The $100 Solution™ Living Learning Community, contact the WKU ALIVE Center at (270) 782-0082. The $100 Solution™ Living Learning Community is a partnership between WKU’s Department of Housing and Residence Life and the ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships. The $100 Solution™ is a national nonprofit organization working toward making a sustainable impact around the world. It provides students with the knowledge, skills and funds of exactly 100 USD to go into communities and make a sustainable difference by asking a simple question: “What can we do to improve your quality of life?”

 Contact: Aurelia Spaulding, (270) 782-0082

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