Vermillion Food Pantry Receives $5,000 Grant with Help from USD English Class
English Instructor Ken Green’s Grant Writing class teaches students to research grant-making organizations, collect data and additional information to document a project in need of funding, and compile and complete the necessary paperwork to apply for a grant.
“The projects we complete in class help students develop practical, hands-on writing and management skills that are directly transferable to professional environments, especially with organizations that seek funding to help make a difference in the lives of the people they serve,” Green said. “The class offers a good mix of instruction about grant basics and experiential learning that helps students make a difference in the community.”
The class’s student-written proposal described the history, mission and goals of the Vermillion Food Pantry, the organization’s plan to offer a mobile food delivery service, community support for the project and expected results. The class also worked with the organization to develop a budget and guidelines on evaluating the results of the proposed program.
The grant earned the support of the South Dakota Community Foundation, giving the Vermillion Food Pantry funds to convert a donated bus into a vehicle that includes shelving, a refrigerated space and additional storage capacity to reach clients who are unable to travel to the organization’s downtown Vermillion location. In addition, the renovated bus will feature a decal on its exterior to advertise the pantry and increase community awareness about food insecurity.
One student in the class is Madison Stevens, a senior health services administration major and English minor who is also in her first year in the USD Beacom School of Business MBA program. Green’s email about the grant award reached her as she sat in class this semester. “I might have audibly said ‘heck yeah’ and got a few weird looks from classmates. Honestly, I was glad to see that the granters saw the same potential we believed in,” Stevens said. “Being able to call attention to a silent struggle such as food insecurity is a key part of building a healthy community.”
Morgan Eikanger, a senior medical biology and English major, said working as a group to assist a local organization was challenging, but rewarding. “The best part of working on this grant project was listening to both the wants and needs of the Vermillion Food Pantry,” she said. “It was interesting brainstorming approaches on how to address their wants and needs with everyone in class. Together, we were able to come up with a solution that was funded.”
English major Carson Sehr said the class made him feel like a helpful member of the community. “The most fulfilling part of the project was being able to hear the needs of the Vermillion Food Pantry and shape our solution to fit just perfectly,” he said. “The most challenging part in drafting the grant was getting all team members’ visions together, literally on the same page, to create a compelling solution to food insecurity in Clay County.”
Katy Beem is the executive director of the Vermillion Food Pantry. “The Vermillion Food Pantry’s partnership with USD will help the food pantry expand the reach and impact of our services to better serve Clay County’s vulnerable families,” Beem said. “We appreciate the thoughtful and generous support of Ken Green and his students.”