News / USA

College Students Rescue Leftover Food, Feed the Poor

College Students Rescue Leftover Food, Feed the Poori
X
March 20, 2013 9:08 PM
According to recent reports, almost 16,000 children around the world die every day from hunger-related causes. Even rich countries have hunger issues. Nearly 15 percent of U.S. households struggle to put food on the table. At the same time, Americans throw out 40 percent of their food. To help resolve these two problems - hunger and wasted food - a group of college students started a program which has inspired a nationwide effort. VOA’s June Soh met the volunteers.
TEXT SIZE - +
June Soh
According to recent reports, almost 16,000 children around the world die every day from hunger-related causes. Even rich countries have hunger issues. Nearly 15 percent of U.S. households struggle to put food on the table.  At the same time, Americans throw out 40 percent of their food. To help resolve these two problems, hunger and wasted food, a group of college students started a program which has inspired a nationwide effort.  
 
University of Maryland student Ben Simon and his friends couldn't stand to see good food thrown out on their campus. 
 
“We basically noticed that some of the extra food from the dining hall was going to waste at the end of the day.  And we met with the dining services and asked them whether it would be okay if instead of throwing out the food we would donate it.  And they were on board," he said. 
 
So 18 months ago, the students began what they call the Food Recovery Network. Each night, volunteers would show up at a campus dining hall to pick up leftovers and deliver them to area shelters and food banks.
 
“When we started, we collected a little bit more than we currently do now, so maybe between [45 kilograms] to [90 kilograms] of food per night.”
 
So far, they have donated more than 23,000 kilos of food that would otherwise have been thrown out.  
 
The amount of wasted food was also reduced when school officials removed trays from the dining hall. Rob Fahey is the chef.
 
“We do not use trays because it is proven that students fill up a tray. And this way they only pick up the plates and they can only grab so much food.  And then they can go back in line to get more food if they want. That prevents wastage for that," he said. 
 
Nationwide, $165 billion worth of food is wasted each year, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Spokesman Bob Keefe says that is about 40 percent of the country's entire food production.
 
“If we can reduce our waste in this country by 15 percent, we can feed 25 million hungry Americans. That is a huge benefit. That is what programs like this Food Recovery Network are doing," he said. 
 
Christian Life Center is one of the beneficiaries of the students' efforts. Ben Slye, the senior pastor, said, “It has been just amazing to see these students take their own time, their own vehicles and own gas money and be able to make an effort like this. Each week we are able with this food probably to feed over hundred people.”  
 
The University of Maryland's Food Recovery Network now has 200 volunteers and the program has expanded to 18 schools across the country.
 
“I want to grow 18 chapters to a thousand chapters within five years.  And once we get to the Food Recovery Nation being at every college campus in America, we want to expand to restaurants to farms," said Simon. 
 
The volunteers are committed to making that happen.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid