Hungry and you fed me: one student’s great idea puts leftovers to use

Here’s a great story from my home state (and my alma mater) about a college student who saw a desperate need and found a way to fill it: 

A few years ago, students at the University of Maryland – College Park noticed a problem that is common at colleges across the country: huge amounts of leftover food from campus dining halls and sports events were being thrown away. At the same time, 1 in 8 people in the D.C. area were struggling with hunger. Furthermore, food from the UMD dining halls was sitting in landfills, contributing to global warming.

n 2011, three students from different campus organizations came together to form the Food Recovery Network (FRN) at Maryland. They put together a team, got student groups to volunteer one night a week, and worked with Dining Services to start recovering leftover food.

In the first weeks, students were recovering 150-200 pounds of food a day.  Every night of the week, a different student group on campus would spend an hour recovering food from the dining halls and donating it to shelters in the D.C. area.  By the time the 2011-2012 year was over, the group had donated 30,000 meals to D.C.-area shelters.

Ben Simon and Mia Zavalij, two of the Founders of the UMD program, began to wonder about food recovery at other schools.

Read more about the Food Recovery Network. And watch the inspiring video below.


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