Food Recovery Network wants donations from frats

MSA and the student group have teamed up to get uneaten food from greek life events to the needy.

Raj Chaduvula

Free food is a common tool for drawing a crowd of University of Minnesota students, but sometimes leftovers go to waste once the event ends.

 

At one greek event, for example, more than 500 hamburgers went uneaten, said Trish Palermo, the Minnesota Student Association’s campus affairs and student experience committee director.

 

The University of Minnesota’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network and the Minnesota Student Association want the school’s greek community to donate unused food to charity instead of throwing it away.

 

The network is a national nonprofit with over 150 chapters across the country, said Mallory Goggans president of the University’s branch. She said the group collects food from restaurants and events and brings it to soup kitchens, meal programs and food shelters.

 

“We recover food that was prepared for the day and wasn’t sold … and donate it to places that will use it,” Goggans said.

 

The Food Recovery Network could redirect leftovers from charity events or fundraisers held by greek chapters throughout the year, she said.

 

“They now have an option to donate the food instead of throwing it away,” she said.

 

After Palermo learned excess food from dining halls would be composted, she looked for ways that student government could get involved with rerouting the extra food. But it wasn’t as simple as grabbing food from events and donating it, she said.

 

“The food has to be a certain temperature and quality and has to be safe,” she said.

 

The Food Recovery Network, however, is equipped to ensure excess food is sanitary and properly given to organizations who then distribute it, Palermo said.

 

“Now, MSA and students can take excess food to [the Food Recovery Network] which can take care of everything else,” she said.

 

For more than a year, the Food Recovery Network has partnered with Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit with 22 locations across Minnesota. The free meal program serves up to 2,000 meals per day, said Emily Schmitz, its director of food operations.

 

“We reached to the Food Recovery Network because we wanted to find innovative ways of bringing food in [to those who need it],” Schmitz said.

 

MSA recently sent a form requesting that greek members — either on behalf of their chapters or as individuals — donate to the food recovery student group or help expand it by joining as a volunteer.

“Whether [it] be by donating excess food from the events we throw or volunteering to assist in the recoveries as students in the Minneapolis area, there is so much we can do to help the less fortunate,” Palermo said.