Helping hands

Lycoming College is working to end hunger in the Williamsport area. The Sustainability Committee, lead by Emily Vebrosky, Samantha Hewitt, Lynette Dooley and Dacin Kemmerer, work together to better the campus and make Lycoming College eco-friendly overall.

The Sustainability Committee came up with the idea to bring the Food Shortage Program to Lycoming College. The Food Shortage Program involves students delivering all unserved food from Lycoming College to the American Rescue Workers every day, rather than sending it to a landfill.

The committee was inspired to create the Food Shortage Program after they attended the Pennsylvania Environmental Consortium (PERC). At PERC all affiliated Pennsylvania colleges and universities gather together to discuss different methods to make a difference in the world, according to Dr. Ryan Adams, advisor to the Sustainability Committee.

While at PERC, the Sustainability Committee saw a presentation on the Food Shortage Program and how it works. The committee became so inspired that they decided to bring the Food Shortage Program to Lycoming College.

“We fell in love with it, because it does so much good in so many ways,” said Vebrosky.

The Sustainability Committee teamed up with Lycoming College alumni, Michael Kane, who is the Men’s Center director at the American Rescue Workers. He is a native to the local area and believes that his experiences in the area and at Lycoming College lead him to wanting to work for the American Rescue Workers.

“My wanting to work at the American Rescue Workers came from my love of this community, and wanting to serve God,” said Kane.

Kane said hunger is a serious issue in the Williamsport community. There are many agencies in the area that work to end hunger, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

“We can’t keep up with the demand,” he added.

The Sustainability Committee recruits Green Representatives to help deliver the food to the American Rescue Workers. Green RepresentativeS are members of different clubs, fraternities, sororities and sports teams on campus that volunteer their time to help the program.

“The bulk of the efforts are from the Green Representatives,” said Adams.

“Anybody from their club can help us in any of our programs, it can be picking up the food or driving it down, helping us weigh recycling or helping us with any project that we come up with,” said Hewitt.

Green Representatives gather food from the cafeteria at Lycoming College every day after the lunch and dinner servings. The food vendor staff at Lycoming College, Parkhurst, follow all food safety procedures to package the food, and then turn it over to the Green Representatives. The food is then refrigerated and driven to the American Rescue Workers.

“The cafe workers have tried to do programs like this, but everyone told them that it would be impossible,” said Kemmerer, “but now we are capable of doing it.”

Once the food arrives at the American Rescue Workers, it is dropped off at the donation center. From there it is refrigerated and the kitchen staff examines the food to make sure it is good to serve to people.

Most of the food that is donated by Lycoming College, is used to make side dishes for the meals during the week. On weekends a majority of the meals prepared come from the food that Lycoming College donates. The food that is donated helps prepare about 150 meals a day, said Kane.

“I’m just glad at how much food we are giving them. They don’t have to prep food anymore and it doesn’t take as much time. They are able to feed more people now,” said Hewitt

The first three weeks that the Food Shortage Program has been active, the Sustainability Committee believes that it has donated more than 1,100 pounds of food to the American Rescue Workers.

“That’s about 900 meals,” said Dooley.

The Sustainability Committee always is looking for more volunteers and are recruiting future leaders to make sure that the Food Shortage Program can continue for many more years to come.