Lycoming College’s Food Recovery helps the community

Campus Food Recovery Network donates over 40,293 pounds of food to American Rescue Workers

Since last fall, Lycoming College’s Food Recovery Network has donated 40,293 pounds to the local American Rescue Workers organization, said Braeden Gozales, food recovery coordinator and student at Lycoming College.

“Instead of throwing out the extra food, we donate it to the American Rescue Workers,” said Gonzales, who is also part of the college’s Sustainability Committee. “And the donations don’t just help the men’s shelter. It’s actually good for the environment.”

“Donating fights waste because it keeps the food out of landfills and gives us a chance to repurpose it. The food we recover is cooked and ready to be eaten, so keeping it out of the trash is important,” added Brittany Lenze, student and head of the Sustainability Committee at Lycoming College.

The Food Recovery Network, a nonprofit organization, encourages students to collect and donate leftover food from college dining halls. The Lycoming College chapter opened in 2014, making it the 50th in America. According to the network, there are 18 chapters in Pennsylvania and 230 chapters throughout the nation.

For Lycoming, donating food allows the college to keep a rotating meal schedule while also feeding and giving back to those food insecure in Williamsport.

To donate the food, about three to five students from the college coordinate Monday through Friday shifts to collect and package food from the Wertz Dining Hall on campus.

“We log the food on a semesterly basis,” Gonzales said. “At the end of the spring semester, we’ll tally up how much more we’ve been able to donate.”

From there, the food is then taken to the American Rescue Workers.

Students’ volunteering their time and efforts is a key reason why Lycoming’s Food Recovery Network has been able to donate thousands of pounds of food to the community over the years. This is not an easy feat as it takes a lot of coordination and time management to make an impact like this on the community.

“I have enjoyed my involvement because it lets me leave a mark in the community. It has allowed me to be part of something bigger,” Gonzales said.

“Good community service is when you can see that people are appreciative of what you do,” said Isiah Watson, a food recovery volunteer.

Anyone, not just students, can “donate and give back,” no matter how big or how small the donation may be, everything helps, Watson said.