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FHSU class lends a helping can

By ABBY BELDEN

abelden@dailynews.net

Fort Hays State University students in the MIS 101 class are "lending a helping can" to their fellow Tigers.

Gladys Swindler, associate professor of informatics at FHSU, asked the 344 students in her Introduction to Computer Information Systems class to donate non-perishables to the Tiger Food Exchange food pantry.

"It is unbelievable how many students are struggling and need a little bit of help," Swindler said. "We are all Tigers, and we are all family and families help families out."

Swindler named the project, "Can you lend a helping can?" The pantry, located in Forsyth Library, opened in October.

"It's a pretty worthy project," she said. "They don't ask your name; they don't ask questions. It's there to simply help Fort Hays students and their families out."

Shana Meyer, assistant vice president for student affairs, said some students are struggling to meet everyday needs due to the economy and finances.

"I think it has just trickled down from parents to students," she said. "I think parents want to help their students, but I think they don't often know because the student doesn't want to add more worry to their parents."

The collection process, which began Nov. 26, came to a close Thursday.

Swindler said approximately 60 percent of the students gave to the project, donating 2,031 cans.

Jeff Kaufman, graduate assistant in cyber security, was one of four to help keep track of donations.

"Oh, I'm excited about this project," Kaufman said. "I am really excited to see the number of students that have come together and pooled all their resources. It's kind of shown that one person may not be able to do it, but as a group, collectively, we can do something to help people out."

The collected food will replenish the pantry, which gave holiday baskets for Thanksgiving.

To get students motivated, Swindler awarded those who donated with extra credit in the class.

One of the students who donated was Melissa Guiboa, a freshman in nursing.

Guiboa has been on the receiving and giving side.

"I've donated twice this year; this is my third time," Guiboa said. "I know what it's like to need, and a lot of these kids are on their own for the first time. ... I always like to help out as much as I can."

Corey Egger, a freshman in physics and pre-engineering, said the extra credit was motivation, but he also supported the cause.

"It's just going for a good cause," Egger said. "We donate to help other people, and it makes you feel good."

Community Assistance Center Director Laurie Mortinger said she was glad FHSU offered the pantry to students.

Mortinger added her center serves a different type of clientele.

"Unless they have families, we don't have a lot of single students who come in for services here," she said.

Meyer commended those who worked to get the pantry on campus.

"If there is anything that we can do to help (students) succeed, that is something we are going to try to do," Meyer said. "If a student's hungry, they won't be able to succeed in the classroom. They won't be able to focus, so this is one more service that can help students out."