Mohawk Valley Community College students give back to their community each week through their chapter of Food Recovery Network.
About a year ago a group of students formed the first community college chapter of Food Recovery Network (FRN) in New York. Students collaborated with Sodexo Dining Services, along with community partners, Mother Marianne’s Westside Kitchen and the Salvation Army, developing a plan to provide meals to their neighbors in need. The students were guided by Kelly Fleming, the Program Coordinator for iServe at MVCC; Deb Hanson, the Regional Sustainability Manager for Sodexo Campus Services; and Hannah Cather the Program Manager for FRN.
Every Wednesday and Friday afternoon, three or more student volunteers can be found in the Resident Dining Hall packaging food that dining services is no longer able to use. Perfectly good food, yet not suitable for service in campus dining: leftover pizza that can be reheated for a meal, French fries that can be turned into hash browns for breakfast, and much more. The recipients pick up donations immediately after packaging and 100% of this food is used to feed people. Since the inception of FRN at MVCC, more than 2 1/2 tons of food has been donated to community partners. Student volunteers come from all walks of life and academic majors, including Shannon Crocker’s Nutrition and Dietetics students that volunteer with FRN as part of their service learning requirement.
All of these volunteers have a common goal and are meeting it together – to fight and bring an end to hunger in their community.
Sarah Petrak is a student assistant with the Office of Communications and New Media for SUNY System Administration. She is a studying Public Policy at the University at Albany.