Two young area men were honored June 1 in Topeka for giving back to their community.
Christopher and Mitchell Gingher, both of Arkansas City, have been giving back for more than half of their lives.
For the last six years, the twin brothers have collected items for the less fortunate on their birthday in lieu of gifts.
At first, they asked for toys to give to other children, but as they grew older, they switched to canned goods.
They were able to collect more than 1,300 items last year during their 12th birthday.
Milk, Bread and Eggs
Most recently, Mitchell and Christopher have started a program called Milk, Bread and Eggs.
When volunteering at a Salvation Army food pantry event, Christopher noticed something missing from the food items that were being distributed.
“Chris asked, ‘Where’s the milk, bread and eggs? You can’t do anything without them,'” Mitchell said.
“I asked multiple times,” Christopher said. “They said, ‘They’re perishables. We can’t store them.”
“He kept asking, ‘Why? Why? Why?'” said Kanyon Gingher, the mother of Christopher and Mitchell.
The two young men decided to use their own money to provide the perishables to those in need.
An idea in action
There was only so much the duo could do without assistance.
After Easter this year, at a church service, a pastor called them to the front of the church, alongside one of their friends.
He gave them each $10 and told them to increase its value tenfold. The Ginghers ran with the idea.
“As soon as we left the front of the church, I already knew what we were going to use it for — Milk, Bread and Eggs,” Mitchell said.
“We talked to our adult friends — they said they’d give $10, $20, $50 or $60,” Christopher said.
“Then we went to (Country Mart owners) Russell and Patty Clark — they do a lot of stuff for the town — and they said they’d help,” he said.
Christopher and Mitchell collect the funds from those who have offered to help, then take the money to Country Mart.
After that, they print certificates that allow those who need help to obtain milk, bread and eggs.
They pass the certificates out at food pantries to anyone who needs help securing those items.
“I see milk, bread and eggs as the three essentials of cooking,” Christopher said.
Trip to Topeka
“Do you do this to get acknowledgement or rewards?” asked Kanyon Gingher.
“No,” Christopher said. He doesn’t want the recognition at all. Mitchell agreed.
Nevertheless, recognition came. At the request of Rep. Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, the two were honored June 1 at the state Capitol.
To keep the focus on their program, Mitchell and Christopher asked the owner of Colorful Events Bakery to provide them with a cake to take to the capital.
Brittany Carder, who owns the bakery, created a cake with the same theme, complete with fondant topping shaped like milk, bread and eggs.
Not only did the cake make it to the House of Representatives, but it also traveled to the governor’s office and back again.
Christopher and Mitchell also met Gov. Sam Brownback, and were able to take a picture with him.
“It was pretty good cake,” Mitchell said.