BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Western students were working together Saturday afternoon at CANstruct for a Cause to help fight hunger in our area -- a problem local food pantries say is becoming more prominent as their shelves are becoming emptier.
"Knowing that it's going to people in Bowling Green and around the area, it might be someone we know and not even know it, so that feels awesome," said Cody Coomes, who was participating with Farmhouse Fraternity.
The 18 groups of WKU students spent the last few weeks collecting canned goods for area food pantries.
"It's really been a tough year for the food pantries in the area, including the American Red Cross. We've seen an increase in demand. In fact, this past month, we saw our largest demand ever," said Terry Reagan, the development specialist for the American Red Cross of South Central Kentucky.
Warren County's poverty rate has increased to 20 percent. Reagan says the struggle could have something to do with the federal government not distributing as many food stamps recently.
"We get that on a regular basis, hearing from individuals who could use a food box or are low on food," said Aurelia Spaulding, the communications and marketing coordinator for WKU Alive Center.
Spaulding says about 12,000 cans will go to the American Red Cross, Hotel Inc and the WKU Food Pantry. But first, the students had fun -- building structures using the cans to further the awareness of hunger in our community.
"So we decided to shape the state of Kentucky and then write 'home' underneath. It's kind of like let's start at home, help people in Kentucky and end hunger in Kentucky, stuff like that," Coomes said.
"The spirit that is in that room is just tremendous, because they're all working so hard to win a competition, but they also realize that every can of beans and corn and everything, is going back to help someone that's hungry," Reagan said.
This was the fourth year the Alive Center put on the event, and Spaulding says the amount of groups participating as well as the cans collected has tripled since last year.