Tech engineering students give back, South Plains Food Bank gets

Tech engineering students give back, South Plains Food Bank gets new conveyor belt

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Last August, a mechanical engineering professor started looking for ways to serve. George Gray was volunteering at the South Plains Food Bank and saw how he could help his students and fight food insecurity. 

He put together a student project to serve the food bank's need for an updated conveyor belt. He broke his students up into six groups. The students were fully-involved in the planning and developing process. 

Gray said he treated the project like a job.  

"I tell them when they come into my class, I said 'you can't think of this as one of your last courses you take at Texas Tech. This is your first job'."

He added the hands-on experience will benefit students' careers beyond graduation, while also showing them the value of community engagement.  

"And it would benefit of course the food bank, but it'll also benefit our students because they'd have an opportunity to work with a real client and see what is involved in meeting their needs and their requirements," he said.

The motorized conveyor belt isn't just helping the food bank, it's also impacting the surrounding areas it serves. 

"Being able to upgrade it and continue to improve, because it makes us more efficient and as we're growing we're serving more families," David Weaver, CEO of the South Plains Food Bank, said.

It took nine months of work, but has made a lasting impact.

"We have volunteers that come out everyday, same volunteers, and I don't think they'd trade for it," Weaver said. "They definitely would not go back to the old system that we had."

 

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