Students supply food during the holidays

‘Tis the season again; it’s the time of giving. December has many meanings, but this holiday season, Behrend students are giving back to the community and needy through charity.

The Waste Not program at Behrend has partnered with the Erie City Mission in a dual effort to rid campus of impractical waste and to help those in need through the winter. Waste Not is run through Behrend’s Newman Association – a Catholic led organization involved with community service and other social events. The Waste Not plan is to collect food from Dobbins that would otherwise end up as a new addition to the Erie landfill.

Junior Stephen Galdo is one of several students who brought the Waste Not program to life. Last fall semester, Galdo worked as a supervisor at Dobbins. He saw thousands of pounds of good food thrown away and decided to take action.

“I used to hate being in charge of throwing out the leftover food. I had always complained about it while working there, but now I felt like it was time to do something. It was time to give some of that food to someone who needed it,” Galdo said.

Galdo met with friends, Behrend administration and science instructor Ann Quinn to jump start the program at Behrend.

Dan Quigley is the director of operations at the Erie City Mission. He says although the program has taken a year to start, the donations from Behrend are already making a huge impact in the community.

“I’m overjoyed with the donations from Behrend. It’s the right thing to do. The holidays are particularly trying for the poor and needy, so we do whatever we can to help,” Quigley said.

The Erie City Mission typically distributes 14,000 meals per month. Among those meals are the leftover ziti, tilapia, macaroni and cheese and desserts from Dobbins dining hall.

Student organizations at Behrend volunteer their evenings to pick up the pre-packaged food from Dobbins. The organization then transports the food to the Erie City Mission where they store the leftovers in a cooling unit. The food is reheated the next day.

“What’s great about this relationship (with Behrend) is the quality assurance of the food that comes here. I would not do this with some other organizations,” Quigley said.

Waste Not’s goal is to eventually help other homeless shelters such as E.U.M.A. They also plan to organize an event where students can serve the homeless and later dine with them. Galdo says he’d like to see the Waste Not program expand to Bruno’s.

“It’s such a blessing to watch Penn State Behrend make a difference in the community. We are helping feed the homeless and at the same time reducing our waste expenses. It’s a win- win situation,” Galdo said. “I hope this program really inspires the campus to continue its outreach to the Erie community and make a difference.”

 

ANDREW MOULTON

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