Despite the University’s reputation for bureaucratic nightmares, it took only four days for University Chef Manager Steve Bouley’s flood-relief idea to become two truckloads of charitable action.
Bouley organized an effort last Tuesday to collect nonperishable, unused food supplies from University retail outlets and food services. He collected two 18-foot trucks from fleet services full of food, paper and cleaning supplies on Thursday and on Friday delivered his bounty to the Salvation Army in Brooklyn Park.
Bouley has a vested interest in flood relief. His brother’s home in Grand Forks, which was caught in front of contingency dikes, is standing in 4 to 6 feet of water.
“It really touches you,” Bouley said. “I wanted to help them out with all that devastation.”
The food and supplies consisted of leftover canned food, outdated paper and plastic silverware and unused samples sent to University food services by companies as advertising. Bouley estimated that the 3 tons of food and supplies will help more than 2,000 flood victims.
“It’s a nice way to clean out the cupboard,” said Leslie Bowman, assistant director of catering. “It was a good way for us to feel like we were doing something for the flood.”
Bouley said he asked Associate Vice President of Housing and Food Services Ron Campbell on Monday if he could go ahead with his idea. Campbell okayed it by Tuesday.
“I told him to e-mail Ron directly with his idea,” said Bowman. “Steve coordinated it. He deserves the credit.”
Bouley said he was surprised by the amount of supplies donated and the speed of the collection.
“I only expected one truckload,” he said. “It was a great turnout, especially with the short notice. I e-mailed (the food services managers) on Tuesday and had the load delivered by Friday.”
Bowman said that although University food services frequently participates in philanthropic efforts, they haven’t given food away before.
“When we have a large catering event and we have leftover food, we try to be proactive in donating it to some charitable cause,” Bowman said. “But this is a new and unique event.”
Bowman said that unlike Bouley, she wasn’t surprised by fast and comprehensive efforts undertaken by the food services staff in getting the food and supplies ready for shipment.
“We have good people in the food service,” she said. “They’re always trying to help each other out.”