The Rockhurst High School National Alumni Association Executive Committee will honor Maxfield (Max) Kaniger '09 as its 2023 Emerging Hawklet Award winner. Kaniger will accept the inaugural award during the school’s Homecoming Mass on September 26, 2023. He will also be recognized at the Alumni Reunion celebration on September 8, and at the Fr. Mario Puricelli, SJ, Alumni Spaghetti Dinner on Nov. 2.
After his graduation from Rockhurst in 2009, Kaniger continued acting upon his calling to serve others.
In 2017 he founded Kanbe's Markets - a nonprofit organization working to build a more equitable food system. Seeing gaps in the food system regarding the relationship between food insecurity and food waste, Kanbe's launched its premiere program, Healthy Corner Stores, in 2018.
With the knowledge of the food industry and growing partnerships within the community, Kaniger led Kanbe's Markets in growing to over 40 Healthy Corner Stores across the east side of Kansas City, far exceeding the organization's initial plan. The goal is now to reach 130 partner locations within the next three years and make Kansas City the first city in the country to eliminate food deserts.
Fueled by love of his neighbors, Kaniger's hope is to serve the community through the development and implementation of this new model for healthy food distribution, and is currently bringing this mission to fruition by delivering over 20,000 pounds of fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables every month to those in need. While providing healthy options for thousands of families across our city, Kanbe's is also reducing the amount of food going to waste. Kanbe's is on track to redirect a total of more than one million pounds of produce from landfills back into the local communities.
Kaniger has appeared on several local television programs and print publications as an expert on food deserts, and gained his expertise through numerous management positions in the grocery and culinary industries. Kanbe's Markets' presence in the local media has allowed for greater levels of donations and volunteers, which in turn allows for larger numbers of produce to be sorted in the warehouse and redirected to the community.
Wanting to share his story, Kaniger has also returned to Rockhurst several times to speak with current students about his work, and how each one of them can make a positive change. He volunteered as a member of the Alumni Ignatian Leadership Panel on Dec. 2, 2022 that spoke to Hawklets about continuing service to others after graduating from The Rock.
"Being honored as the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Hawklet Award fills me with profound gratitude. This recognition is a testament to the enduring impact of the values instilled in me during my time at Rockhurst," reflected Kaniger. "Through my work at Kanbe's, driven by the core belief of becoming 'men for others', I am humbled to contribute to building a more equitable food system, guided by the spirit of compassion, competence, and conscience that Rockhurst has ingrained in me."
Even at a young age, Kaniger's actions are inspiring others.
"Max's mission is extraordinary. He saw a critical need in Kansas City and founded Kanbe's Markets to attack food insecurity. His design of innovative food delivery systems and his focus on healthy choices for some of our poorest neighborhoods is a model of service to others," commented Patrick McInerney '82, President of the Rockhurst High School Alumni Board of Governors. "I've also seen how impactful he is as a speaker at The Rock, talking to current students about his work in the community, what being a 'man for others' means, and sharing values that make a real difference in the lives of so many."
The Emerging Hawklet Award was founded in 2023 and is designed to recognize those who have demonstrated strong adherence to the guiding principle, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam."