After months of coordinating and planning, members of the Circle K Club at the Ohio State University at Newark pulled off a feat not thought possible just a few months prior: they hosted a food drive. 

The organization, officially recognized by the university earlier this year, welcomed OSU-Newark students to the campus’s John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center on April 9 for food, drinks, games and a prize raffle.

Fun may have been the draw for some of them, but the event served a greater purpose: helping out classmates. Attendees were granted one raffle ticket for each non-perishable food item they brought, and the items were donated to the school’s food pantry, open to all students.

The food drive was a symbol of the significant progress that the school’s Circle K club made throughout its first academic year in existence.

Circle K clubs are college affiliates of the international service organization Kiwanis. A group of 10 OSU-Newark students banded together to form one in 2023, earning recognition from the school after a fall semester’s worth of hard work. The club’s charter has not yet been recognized by Kiwanis, but university advisors for the organization anticipate it will be approved soon.

A months-long desire to serve the community was finally fulfilled via the food drive.

Upon enrolling at OSU-Newark, first-year student and lifelong Newark resident Mitchell Mazzone decided he wanted to bring Circle K to his new school. As a junior at Newark High School, he was vice president of the Key Club, Kiwanis’s high school affiliate group. As a senior, he was elevated to president.

In order to fulfill chartering requirements for the school, he needed 10 signatures from students willing to commit, though this requirement proved difficult at a satellite campus with only about 2,400 students. The group even opened signup to Central Ohio Technical College students, and while they remain welcome, none have gotten involved at this point.

“There was a real struggle even just trying to get the signatures of enough students,” Mazzone said.

But as the group worked toward getting 10 signatures and completing paperwork, they were able to plan for what would come after formalities were done.

After a long fall semester, the Circle K club at OSU-Newark was recognized by the university in early 2024, and Mazzone and his crew promptly switched gears.

The product of planning efforts at weekly meetings was the food drive, which drew a crowd of more than 30.

In addition to hosting the food drive this semester, the Circle K club formed an executive board, comprised of members who wanted to expand the group’s reach in the coming year. 

As president of the board, Mazzone is supported by Vice President Kevin Shen, Secretary Alysha Beard and Treasurer Aaron Sakwa. The group is also supported by university faculty and staff members Madeline Sharp and Virginia Cope, as well as Kiwanis program advisor Jennifer Lewis.

The group is planning to host between three and five significant charity events next semester, and are considering events like a 5K run, a clothing drive and another food drive. 

Community members looking to support OSU-Newark’s Circle K club should reach out even if they aren’t affiliated with the school, Mazzone said.

“The point of this program is to serve our home, our school and the community which we live in,” he said. “Part of our mission statement is ‘live to serve, love to serve.’ We’re not picky, and we don’t have any borders. If you would like to help out, let us know.”

This story was updated on Friday, May 3 at 11:00 a.m. to correct charter requirements for the organization through the university and through Kiwanis. The Reporting Project regrets the error.

Jack Nimesheim writes for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is sponsored in part by the Mellon Foundation and donations from readers. Sign up for The Reporting Project newsletter here.