Hawkeye Heroes: 153 Bags of Flex Meal Doritos Donated to Food Pantry
Spring is in full bloom and crowds are back to blissfully sunbathing on the Pentacrest. Summer sits on the frontier and seniors prepare for the last home stretch. However, a more sinister deadline approaches: the last week to utilize the Hawkeye meal plans.
UI first-year Rylee Skroutam of the distant and dilapidated Mayflower Hall visited with our reporter Wesley Hurn on her finals week experiences that extended beyond exams.
“I heard that we can donate our flex meals to the needy, so me and my friends all pooled our flex swipes,” Skroutam stated.
On the penultimate day of finals week, Skroutam wheeled her red wagon full of Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos into the IMU, where the food pantry is located on the third floor.
“I love the community. I hope this helps them as much as it helped me,” Skroutam cheerfully told them as she dumped it all onto the tiles in front of the staff.
“And what else did everyone provide from their flex swipes?” Wesley asked.
After a brief silence, she laughed.
“What else is there?” Skroutam asked. “I’m so glad I did this for them. Blood, sweat, tears, and savings, all here.” She gestured to the chip bags.
Her heroism caught the attention of UI president Barbara Wilson, who invited Skroutam to dine at her campus estate on Church St. with other students who had donated their flex meals. The feast was hosted the evening of Friday and staffed with housing and dining employees that just wanted to go home, but couldn’t, for they were at the whims of Barbara.
“It was an amazing experience. We had racks of lamb, lobster, caviar, gold-encrusted Rocky Mountain oysters, and to top it all off, we had the finest wine in the Midwest!” Skroutam exclaimed after the dinner.
A worker in passing informed us that it was actually a mix of mop water and the drip collections from the Summit bar taps, which the business graciously donated in the spirit of giving.
Wesley was able to follow Barbara into her room after the dinner, where he waited an hour for Skroutam and her crowd to finish their photo-ops under the main floor’s giant chandelier before he and the freshman donor could both access the stairs. The president slipped off her stilettos, dropping from her usual five-foot-one stature to a staggering four-foot-nine build, and smiled warmly when Wesley began the interview.
There was a notably loud rattling from the walk-in closet, with a male voice shouting, “Is anyone there? It’s Bruce, Bruce Harreld. Dear god, someone please let me out of there.”
“Sorry, that’s my dog,” President Wilson began. “Don’t let him distract you from what a spectacular night of charity we’ve just had. You know, I’ve always seen the university as a force of good, and my dear Rylee proved it by providing substantial meals to the unhoused. To the unfed.”
She wrapped an arm around Rylee and posed for a photo.
“The donation was a hundred small bags of Doritos,” Wesley said. “I don’t want to get Skroutam all twisted, but isn’t there an entree, drink, and another side to a flex meal? Why did we just give them a mountain of chips?”
“Mr. Hurn, I want you to practice gratitude and see progress for what it is. Here at the University of Iowa, we pride ourselves on moving forward and leaving the community better than we found it.”
Barbara then placed a gentle but ice-cold hand atop Wesley’s—a warning. Muffled shouts of it’s me, Bruce and oh my fucking god, please let me out echoed throughout the room as Rylee Skroutam started humming with joy, calling herself the “Robin Hood of Iowa City.”