National Food Recovery Network

York College is one of approximately 20 colleges in the nation to host a chapter of the Food Recovery Network. Each morning, student volunteers at these colleges show up at the campus dining hall to pick up leftovers and deliver them to area shelters and food banks.

At York College, the effort is headed by the York Environmental Society (YES), a student organization whose mission is “to foster awareness of environmental issues among members, the college, and the community.” Eleven students are currently volunteering their time to participate in the Food Recovery Network at York College, according to YES president Eileen Reavey ’13, an environmental science and public policy major from Frederick, Md.

Every evening, food that has not been consumed in Johnson Dining Hall is placed in a container, dated and labeled by the dining hall staff. Each weekday morning, a pair of students calls the Dining Hall to see if food is available. If it is, they go to the Dining Hall and weigh the food. This information, as well as food type, is recorded and relayed to the national chapter of Food Recovery Network. The food gathered is then taken to the Catholic Harvest Food Pantry on East Market Street in York.

“YES chose to take on this project because as soon as we heard about it, our thought was ‘Why aren't we already doing this?,’” Reavey said. “This project is environmentally sustainable because it minimizes waste going into the trash, but it goes so much further. We aren't mitigating waste by composting food scraps, we're taking perfectly good food and giving it to people in need. The Catholic Harvest Food Pantry has been extremely grateful for our donations, and YES is excited to have made another connection to the community off campus."