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According to the Census, 48 million people in the U.S. are food insecure. That's one in seven Americans who don't know where their next meal is coming from. Meanwhile, the EPA estimates that America wastes 68 billion pounds of food each year; enough to fill the up Rose Bowl every day.
The University of Maryland, College Park used to send all of its leftovers from student dining halls and from stadiums after games to landfills and composting facilities. Everyone, from the director to the dishwashers, hated to see good food go to waste, but there was no way to get it to those in need without taking on new labor and transportation costs.
So, a group of students took up the initiative. Since 2011, Food Recovery Network, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has started chapters at over 90 colleges and universities and donated more than 420,000 pounds of food. These students have volunteered time and transportation costs to deliver more than 335,000 meals to community hunger-fighting agencies since the program started. The only operating cost left? Trays.
Your compassionate donation can help! Each tray for safe, clean, and effective food transportation costs $1.50, and holds 15 meals. That means just $10 provides a nutritious meal for 100 Americans in need.
Update from the Field
Since the beginning of our program year, July 2017, your donations have supported the recovery of 603,096 pounds of food! That's 502,580 meals across 44 states and 235 affiliate chapters! Here's some of the positive feedback we've been getting in response to your generous donations:
"We have a lady in our community that had been battling a major sickness and was no longer able to work. Because of her previous employment, she was unable to get resources for herself. She testifies that the food we served her from FRN saved her life. Way to go FRN!"—Christian Life Center, Maryland
"I remember the first time I came to get food from this pantry and saw the soup. I couldn't believe that something so good could come from a food pantry. From worrying all week to what I will have to eat in the weekend to being able to get a container of soup every Friday."— Chris, a guest at Martha's Choice Cupboard (Cabrini University)
"The situation was snack time and the kids were eating apples we had recovered. Carnell said "I love the cookies you bring us. I want to eat my cookie first, but Ms. Gail (Teacher) said I need to eat my fruits and veggies to be strong". He then proceeded to "make a muscle" with arm and then eat his apple. He is 7. They aren't really aware of the recovery aspect of the food since they are too young to comprehend it. They just know cookies and different fruits mysteriously show up when we do."—Jenn Campbell, University of Tampa and Cornerstone Kids, Inc.
YOUR generous contributions helped the Food Recovery Network recover nearly 250,000 pounds of food in 2017! That is the equivalent of almost 210,000 meals for food-insecure individuals and families. Your donations have helped people like Carl* (name changed) in Massachusetts. Carl (pictured to the right) is a Navy veteran who visited Craig's Doors, a shelter for individuals facing homelessness, addiction, and other challenges. Carl had been homeless for five years when he first came to Craig's Doors. Your donations have made it possible for FRN to provide meals to these shelters, and to feed people like Carl. A Craig's Doors staff member described the impact daily healthy meals have had on Carl:
“At 55 years old, [Carl’s] body could not handle the abuse it was receiving, and his level of vulnerability meant that he was more likely to pass away than many of our other guests... Somehow, he would usually make it home, routinely stumbling through the doorway... In the interest of keeping him upright, I would usually grab him his dinner — a huge plate full of the food the FRN had donated sometime that week. As he ate, his eyes became clearer, and I could tell he felt infinitely better. […] Recently, through the help of Craig's Doors, Veteran's Services, and his own strength of character, this man has made progress in leaps and bounds. He has started taking medication which curbs his cravings for alcohol, and is slowly returning to the past times which give him joy, such as reading and gardening. Every agency that has participated in the two-year struggle to help keep him alive is rejoicing at the prospect of a man who served his country finally getting the housing and quality of life he deserves.”
The support of GreaterGood.org donors comes at a critical time for FRN. In 2017, FRN will reach 230 active student chapters and have recovered 2 million pounds of food. Flexible funding â like the support received from GreaterGood.org donors â allows FRN to invest in organizational infrastructures, such as salaried positions, phone systems, and data collection software. It also allows FRN to provide financial support for recovery supplies to our chapters. GreaterGood donor funding allowed FRN to invest in a new survey platform that streamlines the process by which we collect information from our student volunteers and partner agencies. Funding from GreaterGood donors also played a role in FRN purchasing a centralized phone line. No longer will FRN depend on staff to field general inquiry or food recovery emergency calls.
The Food Recovery Network unites students at colleges and universities to fight hunger and food waste by recovering surplus perishable food from campuses and communities and donating it to people in need.
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