Riverside Boys

Student-athletes from Riverside High School in Wathena, Kansas, work a Second Harvest Community Food Bank mobile pantry on Monday morning outside the high school.

The Riverside Cyclones distributed food to the community in Wathena, Kansas, on Monday morning.

Second Harvest Community Food Bank said the pop-up pantry passed out food to more than 460 individuals, inside 45 minutes.

That’s around the same distribution speed as the Harvest Express — also known as the 139th Airlift Wing’s volunteer efforts with the food bank.

However, the crew at Riverside weren’t military. They were high school athletes, including Broc Studer, Miles Edwards and Charlie Grable.

“They come and support us, so it’s good for us to support them, too,” Studer said.

That support is important, because the amount of food going out the door is up by quite a bit, according to Second Harvest.

“If you really look at our last three months of the pandemic, we’re at a little under 135,000 individuals,” Communications Coordinator Blake Haynes said. “Compared to last year at this time, we’re almost at 70,000 more.”

Even the amount of food drop-offs has increased. Last year at this time, Second Harvest provided food for 65. This year they’ve done 116.

Included with the student athletes were the Riverside basketball and football coaches. Some of the kids also play baseball, but weren’t able to have a season this year because of the pandemic.

The football team was proud to finish 6-3 this past season, and Coach Bryce Paden hopes the team can replicate that result or even improve on things this coming year.

He was side-by-side with the boys Monday morning and made sure things were organized.

“It’s good for our kids to see the impact they’re having on the community,” Paden said with a smile. “And hopefully they get some extra cheers in the stands this year.”

The mobile food pantry set up shop in front of the high school at 10 a.m. and distributed potatoes, apples, oranges, asparagus, green peppers, oatmeal and macaroni and cheese, as well as other things. Second Harvest estimated the pantry had 8,000 pounds of food.

“Cyclone Nation over here,” Haynes said. “They’re always willing to get back into their community and help out any way they can.”

Ryan Hennessy can be reached at ryan.hennessy@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowHennessy.