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If You Can Help People, Why Wouldn’t You?

College of Business and Economics Student Gives Generously at Fall Food Drive

A college student’s life is busy. Zoe Evans, who came to University of Idaho with an associate degree, is a finance major and part of a Learning Living Community on campus. She works at Wal-Mart 15 to 20 hours a week and takes a full load of courses.

But she also has taken it upon herself to be a philanthropist.

“I believe in donating to charity. I believe in supporting the community,” she said, sitting in front of the huge stack of canned food she just delivered to the College of Business and Economics for the Student Fall Food Drive.

In the winter of 2023, Evans donated over $500 to the food drive, overcoming the financial challenges many colleges students face so she could give food for charity.

“I grew up tithing – setting aside 10% of my income regularly,” she said. “I’m pretty good at not spending money.”

University of Idaho students unload food donation from Zoe Evans’ car.
Erick Larson and students unloading food donation.

When Evans heard about the Graue Scholar-hosted, student food drive in her economics class, she knew exactly what she would do. She took $500 of her tithe savings and bought up can after can of food – and because she receives a discount as a Wal Mart employee – she reinvested the savings and came away with over $500 worth of canned food. Together with her donation, the food drive brought in 1,250 cans of food for the Vandal Food Pantry.

Upon receiving food from this drive, Vandal Food Pantry leadership and volunteerism coordinator, Sandra Kelly shares how gifts like this impact students.

I’m pretty good at not spending money.

— Zoe Evans, finance major

“Food insecurity on our campus is real. We have limited data, but we serve about 100 students a week at the Vandal Food Pantry,” she said. “The Pantry is for everybody. Maybe you have food at home, but you won’t be home for a long time, well come to the pantry. We are a safe, cozy, judgement-free zone. We don’t want anyone to be hungry. Ever.”

Students unloading canned food from car trunk.
Evans and classmates making more trips to empty her car.

And thanks to food drives like this one the Vandal Food Pantry shelves are full. As for Evans, supporting the Vandal Food Pantry, a place that welcomes all students, seemed like a worthy cause. Involved all over campus, she is an honor student, a Vandal Promise recipient, a member of the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance), the Philosophy Club and a Ravens Scholar.

“We are all neurodiverse,” she said, when asked about being a Ravens Scholar. “All humans are on the spectrum.”

And with that, she shares her future goals, which include medical and scientific research. She is particularly interested in studying CRISPR gene editing, which might be a useful tool for addressing currently incurable diseases linked to genetics.

“If you can help people, why wouldn’t you,” Evans said.

Sandra Kelly shows that the Vandal Food Pantry is filled with food for everyone.
Sandra Kelly in the Vandal Food Pantry.

Article by Lori Rock, College of Business and Economics.

Photos by Lori Rock and courtesy of Sandra Kelly.

Published in January 2024.

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