By Jackie Nelson, Harvey County Now
NORTH NEWTON – Kansas Electric transformed its North Newton base of operations from a business to a food packaging plant for a full week to package 500,000 meals for The Outreach Project.
Kansas Electric owner Tim Sweigart said the weeklong endeavor was “exhausting, but also rejuvenating.”
Over 700 volunteers from across the region came together to participate in the event.
“What they’ve been excited about is helping people who have lost their jobs and need resources. That really seems to be a catalyst to bring people together,” said Sweigart.
Volunteer packager Taryn Coon came from Dodge City to help last Saturday morning.
“We’re coming from a better place and they need help; we’re filling a need,” she said.
Coon, part of the Central Kansas Crushers of Inman, was joined by several baseball and softball players from the organization.
Crushers coach Amber Brown of Inman said many of the organization’s players and families stepped up to help.
“We want to give back to all of our communities, especially since it has been such a tough time for everyone. COVID has been awful. Things have been shut down. People are struggling. This is a great way for our kids and families to get to know each other and give back,” she said.
Sweigart said as a business owner, he firmly believes in investing in his company’s mission statement beyond platitudes.
“One of our core values is to live generously. We put it on the wall. We tell our employees it’s a core value. I think to live out what we say we are is very important. This is one way of doing what we say we are,” he said.
In addition to putting their values into action, Sweigart gained satisfaction from making a tangible difference.
“I think the greatest joy is creating good news. After having so much news that’s divisive, this brings people together and creates a sense of community I have been personally longing for. This provides it for me,” he said.