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Student David Jones waits with candy to hand out at Community Harvest Food Bank.

IPFW volunteers go big in citywide blitz

Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Students Yi Yuan, left, and Yi Lin Lee clean up the turtle enclosure at Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo on Saturday, part of IPFW’s BIG Event.
Student Mikalah Lambert wears the evidence of cleaning out an exhibit in the zoo’s Australian nocturnal house.

– As hundreds of families made their way through the line Saturday morning at Community Harvest Food Bank, volunteers in bright blue shirts bustled around the warehouse, handing out fresh produce, bread and other items.

The nearly 40 blue-shirt-clad volunteers were from IPFW, volunteering as part of the university’s BIG event. They joined about 20 regular Community Harvest volunteers to serve nearly 700 families, passing out food, breaking down boxes and helping people carry items to their cars.

The food bank was one of about 45 sites that benefited from the help of nearly 1,000 IPFW faculty, staff, students and alumni who volunteered for the event, a nationwide event in its second year at IPFW.

Laura Leichty, a secretary in the computer, electrical and information technology department, came as part of a group of faculty and students from the College of Engineering and Technology.

She said this year’s group grew by about four volunteers, and she hopes it continues to grow as more volunteers encourage their friends to join in.

“It’s a good opportunity to see how many people really have need in the community,” she said.

Senior Angela Radford, who volunteers regularly at other places, said it’s also a good way to get to know more people in the IPFW community.

“I wanted to be more social, get to know more of my fellow students I see around campus,” she said.

At Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, volunteers put together animal adoption packets, made treat bags, prepared for the shelter’s annual Easter bone hunt and did yard work.

Deputy Director AmyJo Sites said she was more than happy to have the 11 IPFW volunteers doing some work that employees would like to do but often don’t have time for. Some of the yard work done by volunteers will save the city of Fort Wayne money because now city employees won’t have to do it, she said.

IPFW alumna Katie Kipfer lives in Chicago but came back to town to be a part of the BIG event after participating last year as a student leader. Saturday morning, Kipfer was working with Breanna Hatter, a member of the IPFW golf team, to make animal treat bags used in training.

“It was great being a part of the event in its first year,” Kipfer said. “I wanted to come back and do it again.”