By Mark Wadland
Since 2014, the Food Recovery Network has collected nearly 2,500 pounds of leftover food that would have gone to waste, according to FSU graduate student and chapter founder Meghan Skeehan.
According to the Food Recovery Network at FSU Facebook page, the chapter donated 3,831.3 pounds of food last year. The group has not delivered food yet this semester, according to junior nutrition major Jenna Corsi, a member of the FSU chapter.
Director of Dining Services Ralph Eddy said the network on campus is part of a larger national
organization. Three students at the University of Maryland founded this organization in 2011, and chapters soon emerged across the country, according to the network’s website.
When Skeehan came to FSU, she wanted to volunteer somewhere local and learned of the Food Recovery Network online. Taking matters into her own hands, she approached Sodexo with a proposal to form a chapter of the network on campus.
She said Dining Services was “definitely supportive” of the idea, and in the fall of 2013 she began the process of founding the chapter. The first recovery took place the following semester, with Skeehan and a few others picking up and delivering food from Dining Services to local shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens.
Of the students’ efforts, Eddy said, “They’re the ones that donate their time. ... That’s commendable.”
He said any food left over from meals is packaged and frozen, and then volunteers pick it up once each week and deliver it to those in need around Framingham.
Skeehan said she and the other nine volunteers have delivered as little as 15 pounds of food and as much as 250 pounds in a single week.
“Everyone’s very appreciative,” Skeehan said of those who receive the food, although those at housing shelters are more “selective” about the food they accept because children live there.
Since 2011, volunteers have recovered 892,291 pounds of food and have 150 chapters in the U.S., according to the network’s website.
Corsi said she likes “knowing that we are doing something with food that was going to be wasted.”
According to Feeding America’s website, a nationwide collection of foodbanks working to fight hunger, one in seven people struggle with hunger in the U.S. Corsi said she hopes more people will get involved with this group to learn more about food waste and where that food can go.
She said, “If people understood how much other people are going hungry, then I feel like they wouldn’t waste as much food as they do.”