Food Recovery Network club battles food waste and feeds those in need

edited.FoodRecoveryNetwork3_HeberGuerra-RecinosBy Carlee Berkenkemper

Elm Staff Writer

Washington College has piloted a number of sustainability initiatives this year, including the recent approval of the Food Recovery Network (FRN) club.

Although the group has been operating since 2016, they officially became a club at the Student Government Association Senate meeting on April 9.

The mission of the club is “fighting waste and feeding people” by mobilizing college students to collect perfectly good leftover food that would have otherwise been thrown out and donate it to those in need.

Food Recovery Network is a national nonprofit organization started by students at University of Maryland College Park in 2011. According to their website, there have been 230 chapters founded, 3.4 million pounds of food recovered, 2.9 million meals donated, and 6.4 million kilograms of CO2 emissions prevented since its founding.

The WC FRN club operates as one of these chapters.

“I decided to participate in FRN because it is a great way for students to give back to the community that supports us and help people reduce waste,” said freshman Bryce Robertson, club vice president.

FRN has two donors for food — the WC Dining Hall and Heron Point of Chestertown — and two food recipients — the Community Table and The Bayside H.O.Y.A.S (Helping Our Youth Achieve Success). On average, they run five to nine recoveries a month and have donated about 4,000 pounds of food since their inception in fall of 2016.

Senior and previous president Elizabeth Massey, has been involved with FRN since her freshman year. In 2017, she worked with the national organization as a data intern and is currently the Regional Outreach Coordinator.

“We are lucky to be able to interact with both of our recipients in unique ways. At the Community Table, we donate the food and stay to serve it to the Chestertown community. With H.O.Y.A.S., a handful of volunteers travels through Kent County to deliver the recovered food to homebound people,” she said.

Community Table dinners are served every Monday in the basement of the First United Methodist Church in Chestertown and provide volunteers with an opportunity to witness the intersection of community service and environmental conservation.

“I joined FRN for the environmental element, to reduce food waste in Chestertown, but the first night I volunteered at the community table I started talking with the guests, saw the faces of the children that relied on us for their best meal of the week, and heard the thanks of individuals that otherwise would be scavenging on the streets for dinner. FRN is not only good for the environment, but it’s tremendous for the community and helping those in desperate need,” said freshman and newly elected co-president Alaina Perdon.

Although she is graduating, Massey is also looking forward to the club’s growth next year.

“I believe that we will continue to expand both our student volunteer base and our donors and recipients to make as big an impact that we can in Kent County,” she said.

For more information about volunteering, contact co-presidents Alaina Perdon and junior Emily Dobson, and follow @wac.foodrecovery on Instagram to stay updated on their projects.

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