Every week, 40 pounds of food from Reisner Dining Hall is taken to local organizations that help feed the Shippensburg community.
This is made possible by the Shippensburg University Food Recovery Network, which is a chapter of the national Food Recovery Network.
The national organization sends containers, gloves and scales. The SU chapter began in 2014 with an initiative from honors program students, according to junior TJ Dooley.
“You see the same faces, so it really connects the university with the community. It’s food that will have just been thrown away. It gets students connected with the community, and it also saves the university some money,” Dooley said.
The network collects food from Reisner Dining Hall that is left over — usually rice, soup, vegetables and meat — then packs and transports the food to local organizations such as churches.
Most of these organizations have a free meal service. The food collected from SU is set out for people to take home with them for additional meals.
The SU Food Recovery Network is a volunteer-based group and looks for volunteers from student organizations that have service requirements. There are currently about 10 volunteers who show up on a regular basis. Those who volunteer also get a free meal, according to Dooley.
He began volunteering with the network during the second semester of his freshman year.
It started as a food sustainability project for a human communications class, but now he spends about 10 hours a week volunteering.
“I helped out one time and thought, ‘Oh, this is pretty cool.’ So I helped out every week after that,” he said.
Being a member of the Wood Honors College, Dooley hopes to turn his volunteering into his senior capstone project.
The group is also looking to expand to more dining halls, such as Kriner Dining Hall, in the next month or two. Members would like to collect food from other meal periods such as breakfast and dinner. However, this would require more volunteers to help out, Dooley said.
“It does make you feel good. Honestly, it only takes an hour-and-a-half,” he said. “It’s very easy. You meet some amazing people.”
Those who are interested in volunteering with the SU Food Recovery Network can contact Dooley at firstname.lastname@example.org.