Community Engagement
Forgotten Food
Ben Simon
Ben Simon

I have always hated seeing good food go to waste. If I am with a friend who cannot finish their meal, I will ask if I may finish the meal myself. Strange behavior to say the least, but I’m motivated by the thought of perfectly delicious food going to waste in some landfill while kids nearby are going to bed hungry.

50 million Americans do not have access to enough food, yet 36 million tons of food went to waste in 2011. This forgotten food has economic, environmental, and social impacts.

While attending the University of Maryland at College Park, I learned that all of the leftover food from the dining halls went to waste every day. It was then that I decided that I could, should, and would do something. Eager to stop this waste, feed the hungry, and aid the environment, a few classmates and I partnered with our dining services provider to recover and donate the food to local shelters and soup kitchens. Two and a half years later, Food Recovery Network (FRN) is a non-profit organization present on more than 60 college campuses nationwide. We’ve engaged over 1,000 students in service, donating more than 265,000 pounds of food, which equates to about 215,000 meals for hungry Americans.

Food Recovery Network could not be more proud to partner with Sodexo Foundation. This partnership has dramatically expanded our food recovery efforts, especially on college campuses.

Setting up a new FRN chapter at a college or university is easy. Our FRN-at-UMD-300x168 growing expansion team guides students each step of the way, finding a local hunger-relief agency to donate to, arranging recovery efforts with the dining staff, and working out the logistics of transportation and delivery for the food donations.

Being a part of the food recovery movement is an extremely rewarding experience for everyone involved, from the student volunteers to the dining staff and school administrators to our hungry neighbors, the entire community benefits. If you love food and don’t want to see it forgotten, reach out to us at www.foodrecoverynetwork.org about volunteering at a chapter near you or starting one at your school.

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