Students often throw out a lot of things when they move out of their residence halls at the end of the school year – including perfectly good food. While rushing to catch a train, bus, or plane home after an exam, the last thing on a student’s mind is saving still good cans of tuna fish, bags of beans, or packs of Ramen noodles from going into a landfill.
This is where Food Recovery Network (FRN) and Move For Hunger (MFH) come in. The two organizations knew this issue was preventable through collaboration, and so created an end-of-year event called Move Out Day, where student volunteers collect food that would have otherwise gone straight into a dumpster while also raising campus awareness on food waste and hunger.
In Spring 2017, FRN and MFH co-hosted Move Out Days with FRN chapters on five participating college campuses: Brandeis University (Waltham, MA), George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), Goucher College (Baltimore, MD), Monmouth University (West Long Branch, NJ), and Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, CT). College students saw first-hand the amount of food that could be saved from the landfill. Each chapter was paired with a local moving company to deliver the collected food to a local food bank or pantry. Thanks to the incredible work and passion of the students, truck drivers, sponsors and FRN and MFH staff, a combined total of 5,059 pounds of food was recovered and delivered to those who need it most.
Thank you to the event sponsors, Doorsteps, Atlas Van Lines, Dumpsters.com and Clif Bar, for all helping make the event a spectacular success. Thank you to Upworthy for documenting the event and telling its story.
2017 was the inaugural year of Move Out Day, and FRN and MFH couldn’t be more thrilled to expand on this incredible momentum to make the event even bigger and more impactful in Spring 2018. Next semester, participation will quadruple, and about 20 chapters across the country will have the opportunity to coordinate a Move Out Day. If you are an FRN chapter that is interested in participating this year, please fill out the form here. If you are a company that is interested in getting involved and learning more about how you can sponsor the event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara Merken, George Washington University Chapter Founder and Former Chapter President, spearheaded Move Out Day on GW’s campus. Read below to learn about Sara’s experience and to join us in our excitement in planning for our Second Annual Move Out Day in 2018:
Our chapter was new to GW’s campus the prior fall, and we had spent the prior few months attempting to get the Food Recovery Network name out there. Although many of the students who came by the Move Out For Hunger event tables had never heard of FRN (yet!), the intrigue and necessity for many students to get rid of their excess peanut butter, pasta, canned foods, and oatmeal packets before moving out of their dorm rooms allowed us to educate passersby about our cause and ask them to come back with the food that would have otherwise been thrown away.
The months of preparation and excitement could not even have predicted the success of the event. The day started off somewhat slow, and the only students passing by our stand were scurrying to the library to study for finals. As the day went on, however, the event began advertising itself. We were situated in Kogan Plaza, a main area at GW that gets a lot of foot traffic, and the bright green signs, miles-high piles of moving boxes, variety of Clif bars and stacks of t-shirts attracted many interested and unaware but curious students.
Congratulations to all five schools that successfully put together such an exciting and necessary donation event! We collectively received thousands of pounds of nonperishable food along the east coast and should all be incredibly proud of our accomplishments. A big thank you to Food Recovery Network, Move For Hunger, and each of the other sponsors for allowing our chapter to make a difference on GW’s campus and in the greater DMV area! An additional thank you to the staff members from Food Recovery Network who helped us out on the day of the event, and to my wonderful executive board for putting on such a memorable day!