Student Volunteers Recover Food for Those in Need

April 15, 2019

By Brayden Rollins '21

With the Lenten season, many events, initiatives and programs on campus are dedicated to giving and making the world a better place. One significant effort is the student-led Food Recovery program, which gathers and donates food to those in need.

Saint Anselm College is one of New Hampshire’s four chapters of the Food Recovery Network, a national organization that is the largest student movement fighting food waste and hunger in America. Here on campus, the food that Davison Hall doesn’t sell now is processed and donated by student volunteers.

Volunteers are trained on how to weigh the food, log details, and facilitate preparation for delivery. Over 35 student-volunteers are involved with the program, with 4-5 students assisting every week. The group meets with Davison Hall staff every Friday to receive the leftovers for donation, which are then packaged and delivered in a matter of hours. These few hours of labor mean that recipients have food for the remainder of Friday and the entirety of Saturday- a short amount of volunteer time to create a large impact on those in need.

“We have created an amazing routine with the Davison workers,” says Taylor Head ’19, student organizer and motivator behind the Food Recovery program. “They are so happy to see us every week and they always say, ‘It must be Friday if the gang is all here!’ They are so kind and welcoming to the students who help out with Food Recovery.”

Head has contributed significantly to the program’s success in recent years. First designed to recover food only following large events, the program went further when Head pushed for more volunteers and motivated students to meet and recover donations weekly. A strong relationship with Davison Hall also fueled success, with Davison menu planning in advance around foods suitable for use later as leftovers for the program.

While the Food Recovery program donates to many different sites, New Life Ministries is visited every week. New Life Ministries is a privately funded home for women and children who have suffered from destructive lifestyles in the past and are seeking treatment. The home serves meals to more than 50 women and children every day.

“We look forward to seeing the students every Friday. We’re excited to see what they bring,” explains Susan Martore Baker, a board advisor for the New Life home. “God always brings us what we need and God has brought them to us this year.”

The amount of food that the program is donating has increased in volume and impact, and they continue to build student involvement in the future. “In just one semester last Fall, we recovered over 700 pounds of food, which is almost 6 times more than the previous years,” says Head. “I have not done the numbers this semester, but it should be about the same as last semester and there is always opportunity for growth next year!”

For more information on the Food Recovery program or how to get involved, contact Taylor Head at thead@anselm.edu.