Genesis Food Bank hosts food drive on campus

James Osborne

The Global Dimensions of Business classes are working with the Genesis Food Bank in collecting nonperishable food goods on campus. Decorated barrels are on campus for donations to be placed in Self hall and the Caf. Nonperishable food items include canned goods, boxed goods, peanut butter, flour, and canned meats. Donations will be taken until Oct. 31.

Donating to Genesis Food Bank was the idea of Sara Kimmel, who teaches the Global Dimensions of Business classes. Kimmel seeks creative ways for her students to earn extra credit in class, and this semester the Global Dimensions of Business students can earn that credit by decorating the containers, placing them on campus, and encouraging the food donations.

The Global Dimensions of Business class teaches students about world conditions, politics, cultures of the world, and understanding how to make a business work internationally.

“One of the first things we went over in class was a slide presentation on world hunger and why that is kind of fundamental on conducting business, and it fit in with everything we talk about with good nutrition as a precursor to health,” said Kimmel, whose class covers an in-depth look at world conditions and what determines good international business. “One of the first things we discussed was world hunger and everyone weighed in on it. So it was obviously something everyone was interested in discussing.”

Kimmel got the idea after the student introductions the first week of class when Jonathan Gaitlin, a junior business administration major, introduced himself and said that his family owned a food bank in Jackson. “I mentioned briefly that we had a food bank and she talked to me after class about the extra credit project,” said Gaitlin.

“It’s been my whole life,” said Gaitlin of Genesis Food Bank. Gaitlin grew up helping out at the food bank warehouse and being homeschooled there.

Gaitlin said he has learned a lot from working at the food bank over the years with his family. “It’s helped me to realize that not everyone has the same privileges,” said Gaitlin. “We have a responsibility to help others and to give and share the hope of Jesus Christ.”

“There are so many big things going on in the world that are international in scope and we talk about them in class and people feel unprepared,” said Kimmel. “This is one thing people can do that has an immediate impact and that’s one of the reasons we do things like this in class. It’s tangible. We hope everyone will donate.”

The Genesis Food Bank was founded in 1997 by Gaitlin’s stepfather David Gaitlin. The motto of the Genesis Food Bank is “Feed, Share, and Care.” The food bank focuses on Jackson but serves all of Mississippi. The Genesis Food Bank is staffed by five volunteers including Gaitlin and his mom. “We receive no government funding like other food banks so we have less restrictions on what we do with the food and who we give the food to,” said Gaitlin.

The Genesis Food Bank helps give food to other food ministries in the area, gives to churches in the Jackson area, provides food relief after natural disasters, and asks individuals who need food help to come to the ware house church service once a month or help volunteer before receiving the food donations. “After Katrina, we hand delivered $100 million of food to the coast,” said Gaitlin.

Jonathan Gaitlin founded the warehouse church where the food bank is located in 2008, and the food bank hosts a church service there once a month.

“I realized I could and wanted to do more as a Christian,” said Gaitlin. Gaitlin’s mother, Deana, is currently working in Roma, Texas to extend the food bank ministry there and to establish the church there too.

Gaitlin’s father David passed away earlier this year, and Gaitlin has been busy helping with the food bank, working full time as an entrepreneur in construction and real estate, as well as working as a full time student.

The Genesis Food Bank is always looking for donations and the support of volunteers. The food bank is located on 435 Hiawatha Street in Jackson, and their phone number is 601-354-3663.

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