The SIUE chapter of the Food Recovery Network is benefiting both the local community and SIUE students this holiday season.
Formerly known as the Campus Kitchen, the Food Recovery Network recently conducted its yearly food drive. The Food Recovery Network is a sustainable organization that aids in eliminating food waste by partnering with Dining Services and restaurants outside the university. Food that has already been prepared is packaged and donated to those in need instead of being wasted.
Carolyn Compton, Assistant Director of Community Engagement at the Kimmel Student Involvement Center, explained the work that the drive entails.
“They put out food donation boxes and things of that sort throughout a lot of the different … halls and different buildings throughout the campus, and just offer different kinds of donations,” Compton said.
Compton also said the Food Recovery Network is not only a useful resource for the surrounding community, but for the campus as well.
“My intention is for students to really work off-campus a lot to get their community service in, because I want us to really make a connection to the community that surrounds Edwardsville so that students and the university can start making connections and building the community a little bit more,” Compton said.
Brittany Buchanan, a graduate assistant at the Kimmel Student Involvement Center, said students can benefit from learning about the needs of the surrounding community.
“We have a lot of areas surrounding Edwardsville that experience high levels of poverty like East St. Louis, Alton also has some areas, and Granite City as well,” Buchanan said. “So I have a lot of stories of students like ‘Wow, I did not think of that.’ So I think that’s the whole point of our organization, is to have students be a part of the conversation and to feel empowered to help others.”
“Instead of, you know, having food that goes to waste, we recover that food and redistribute it. So all this food is viable. It’s just what they don’t sell or don’t get rid of at the end of the day,” Buchanan said.
Proceeds from the network’s food drive will go to the Community Care Center in Granite City, Illinois. Melanie Lohman, executive director of the Community Care Center, described how donations help the community.
“I think it cuts down on even some of, even like, the robberies … because they’re actually getting something different that they don’t have to necessarily steal for,” Lohman said.
SIUE students can get involved by packaging food and volunteering at the Community Care Center. To contact the Community Care Center, call 618-876-8770.