After weeks of preparation, a chapter of the Maryland-based Food Recovery Network has successfully been added to Olivet’s campus. With this program, students volunteer their time to come into the university kitchens and pack up leftover food to be delivered to those in need of a hot meal.
Within the first few weeks of these food recoveries, 200 students have signed up to help package food. After it has all been packaged up, it is delivered to the Salvation Army in Kankakee, where a hot lunch is served Monday through Friday. With the help of these students, over 1,200 pounds of food has already been donated and given to those who need it.
“That’s 1,200 pounds of food that is used to help feed those in need, 1,200 pounds that the Salvation Army does not have to pay for, and 1,200 pounds of food that is kept out of our landfills,” Austen Marshall, Executive Officer of Spiritual Life, said.
Marshall has been a part of six recoveries so far, and says he has enjoyed every minute of it.
“Being part of the entire process of seeing the food not get wasted, to seeing the beaming faces of thankfulness from the employees at the Salvation Army…it has been a great experience,” Marshall said.
Students don’t have to sign up by themselves, but are encouraged to package together as a group of friends or through a club.
Josie Fickes is a junior recovery leader and a member of Enactus business team. Members of Enactus use their skills to encourage their neighbors locally and globally through participating in projects. One project they have recently taken on is helping to feed the hungry by starting their own group with the Food Recovery Network.
“I joined this Enactus group because I’m very passionate about the homeless and people who are food insecure. With my double major in Business Administrators and Hospitality, I can use my skills in a tangible way through the Food Recovery Network,” Fickes said.
Recoveries only take about 30-45 minutes and happen Monday through Friday. Lunch recoveries happen around 2 p.m., and dinner recoveries occur around 7:15 p.m. Only four to five people are recommended for a team, as it allows each member to have a job and help in the process.
Students that wish to be involved can still be a part of this movement. Starting next semester, tables will once again be set up in Ludwig for students to sign up. Students can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.