Hungry Huskies returns under rebranded leadership

By Ahyen Labanan and Noah Thornburgh

At 7 p.m. Sunday, 21 volunteers doled out free hot dogs, salads and root beer floats to community members at the first Hungry Huskies event of the semester.

Hungry Huskies is a weekly dinner held at Ellington’s Restaurant in the Holmes Student Center. Volunteers will serve free food every Sunday until Dec. 8.

This year, Hungry Huskies is hosted by NIU’s Inclusive Collective, a Christian organization under the United Methodist Church. Kaitlyn Frantz, of Texas, who attends graduate school at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, moved to DeKalb to take over the campus minister position.

Frantz said the Inclusive Collective is a rebrand of the Wesley Foundation, a nationwide United Methodist campus ministry. She said the Wesley Foundation wasn’t speaking to students and wanted to follow the success of UIC’s Inclusive Collective, where she interned last year.

“[UIC’s Inclusive Collective] is doing really great work with LGBTQ-inclusive campus ministry,” she said. “They’ve grown from zero people to 50 people involved in small groups, worships and retreats, so we want to learn from what they’re doing and have a connection to them, here at NIU.”

Frantz said LGBTQ inclusion is important to her, since she identifies as queer and is engaged to a woman.

UIC’s Inclusive Collective has more than 1,000 Facebook likes and 785 Instagram followers.

Sunday was Frantz’s first Hungry Huskies. After witnessing it, she said she’d love for the dinner to be a space where people can genuinely get to know each other.

“One ritual I’ve thought of doing is having a moment for someone to come up and talk about their week,” she said. “Kind of like a testimony, but not, ‘this is what God has done in my life,’ but instead, ‘this is the good stuff that’s going on in my life and I want you all to know about it,’ or ‘this is something that’s really hard, and I need my community right now.’”

This event is a “nice way to give back to people at NIU,” Kevin Burton, a freshman public health major said. Burton is part of the NIU Inclusive Collective Chapter.

“A lot of students would benefit from knowing this [event],” Mark Emiliano, a senior electrical engineering major said.

Hungry Huskies is “a great way to connect the community,” Megan White, a sophomore OMIS major said.

White served as a volunteer for Hungry Huskies on Sunday and has been volunteering for the event since the spring 2019 semester. This is an event worth attending, White said.

An Inclusive Collective community group will meet 7 to 8 p.m. Mondays. Contact Frantz at or 815-200-9105 for the location and more information.