Youth shelter recognizes key players in food donation program

Matt Wettengel and Karen Jennings

Nancy Levandowski, director of ISU Dining, was recognized Tuesday for her initiative to conserve food by donating end-of-day quality food to the Rosedale Shelter in Ames, a branch of Youth & Shelter Services.

Iowa State has been in partnership with the Youth & Shelter Services and the shelter for more than 35 years, supplying food to the organizations each day.

“I’m humbled [to be honored] because to me it is my ISU team that makes it possible. They make the effort to get it done,” Levandowski said.

Youth & Shelter Services was founded by CEO George Belitsos and a small group of ISU students and faculty in 1976, though it has only been receiving food from ISU Dining for around six months, said Eric Carlson, public information officer for Youth & Shelter Services.

Donated food is picked up by Bernie White, chairman of the Youth & Shelter Services Board of Trustees and former ISU professor of biochemistry, and the Ames Noon Kiwanis Club, who deliver the surplus food every weekday morning and again Friday afternoons to several organizations in Ames.

White was also honored for his volunteer service and dedication to the children and youth served by Iowa’s first emergency youth shelter.

“It is because of volunteers such as [White] that [Youth & Shelter Services] can keep its food costs low and allow our youth to eat so well,” Carlson said. “His contribution comes from the heart.”

The addition of the food donated from ISU Dining has caused the price of meals for Rosedale residents to drop from $5.16 to $1.40, making the food more affordable. Cooperation with ISU Dining has also saved the Youth & Shelter Services money and prevents food from going to waste, Carlson said.

The food donated comes in many forms, but is made into appetizing meals for the up to 15 children that call Rosedale home at any particular time.

The shelter serves youth who have run away, are homeless, need help resolving family conflicts, have been abused or neglected, or are adjudicated and waiting for court action. The shelter provides youth in crisis — between the ages of 10 and 17 — with a safe, structured home, providing many services to the children in their care. The shelter works to reunite youth with families whenever possible, Carlson said.

With the various services that the shelter provides to children in the Ames community, Levandowski feels their cooperation with ISU Dining has a lasting impact.

“Those are the future ISU students we are helping by making sure they get a healthy meal,” Levandowski said.