Nearly 15 percent of San Diegans face food insecurity, according to the United States Census Bureau.
With those numbers, the Food Recovery Network has decided to partner with students from PLNU to help package and distribute unserved meals from the cafeteria to the San Diego Rescue Mission. The rescue group then proceeds to give the food to the homeless.
The FRN is a national organization that partners with 230 colleges, each regarded as a chapter. The program started in 2011, and more than 2 million pounds of food have been donated so far, FRN reports. The PLNU chapter was opened in the fall of 2016. Chapters can choose which non-profit organization they want to donate to.
“Without these donations from partners like PLNU, we wouldn’t be able to provide for all our families at the Rescue Mission,” said Michelle Smith, the SDRM relations and events manager. “This partnership is a great blessing to us and through it, we’re able to bless many people in need of a warm meal and a kind face serving it.”
Joseph Stolzfus, president of the PLNU FRN chapter, said that “our primary goal is to be good stewards of what we have been given. We want to continue to improve and refine our process so that we can recover as much food as possible in ways that are both efficient and environmentally sustainable.”
Students are encouraged to come help recover food whenever is most convenient for them. Volunteers are instructed to get to the cafeteria fifteen minutes before it closes and wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, a hat, and a short sleeve T-shirt to ensure safe and healthy food handling practices.
Leaders from the FRN constantly keep in touch with Miles Rottman, the PLNU Sodexo general manager, to assure a quick and smooth recovery process.
Rottman said he is proud to “[know] that food is not being wasted, someone is not going hungry and [it is] an opportunity to serve.” Since the fall of 2016, the FRN at PLNU has packaged and donated more than 5,000 meals.
*If you would like to learn more about the PLNU FRN, you can reach them through their Facebook page (PLNU Food Recovery Network) or email Joseph Stolzfus at firstname.lastname@example.org.