By Isabelle Christie and Makena Gera
Have you ever considered what happens to the leftover food in the dining hall? Have you thought about the pounds of chicken, vegetables, or soup that could go to waste? Or have you considered what impact these uneaten meals could have on a hungry person?
Last year over 1,700 pounds of that uneaten food was recovered by the Food Recovery Network. Established at Marist in November of 2015, the Food Recovery Network is an on-campus organization that donates the dining hall’s leftovers to outreach programs in the surrounding area. Marist’s dining hall is Food Recovery Network certified, which means it receives grants and is recognized for its impact on the community.
Youth Mission Outreach and Dutchess Outreach in Poughkeepsie are among the programs that benefit from the Food Recovery Network. Four times a week, students make group meal runs in which they collect uneaten food from the dining hall and deliver it to these programs.
The importance of these meal runs cannot be understated. Often times children rely on the Food Recovery Network’s donations as a main source of their meals. And as students in Poughkeepsie, it’s important we recognize the difficulty that many families face in feeding their children.
“We go to a huge school and we don’t really think about how much we’re taking,” said Kelsey Seiferth ‘17, President of the Food Recovery Network. “You swipe in, you can eat as much as you want. It’s just more about being conscious about how much you’re wasting and taking what you need and not necessarily what you think you’re going to eat.”
Although students in the Food Recovery Network often just drop off the food, seeing the reactions of the children and their families through photos inspires them to get involved in other ways as well. They have participated in book drives and taken the kids roller skating with Youth Mission Outreach, for example. Recently, the organization ran a fundraiser at Applebee’s where students paid $10 to sponsor a child’s meal.
The Food Recovery Network’s efforts, however, are not just limited to the while school is in session. The dining hall continues to donate uneaten food as well as leftovers from the Cabaret throughout the summer.
Becoming a member of the Food Recovery Network is a great way to get involved, get off campus, and help the community. By transforming food that would otherwise go to waste into meaningful meals for the people of Poughkeepsie, you can make a difference in the lives of many families.
Students interested in joining the Food Recovery Network, email email@example.com.
Image Credit: Marist Food Recovery Network on Instagram.