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View From The Hill: WKU’s Food Recovery Network distributes more than five thousand pounds of food

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 8:42 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU’s Food Recovery Network is celebrating a milestone. More than five thousand pounds of food has been picked up and distributed to local non-profits because of their efforts.

“I usually do recoveries once or twice a week,” Austin Brown, a regular volunteer with WKU’s Food Recovery Network, said. “It makes me feel amazing just really getting out there and seeing the effect that it has on people.”

Brown not only picks up excess food from WKU restaurants that would have otherwise been thrown out, but he also delivers it to local non-profits.

“It’s been an absolute blessing for us to be able to supplement things we were already short on, already having to purchase anyway,” Jon Calloway, the program living director at Hope House Ministries said.

WKU’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network was founded by senior Elaine Losekamp in January of 2019 after she was inspired at a sustainability conference.

“I’d been aware that food waste was a serious issue before that but I didn’t really know about what people could do to solve the problem,” Losekamp explained.

More than five thousand pounds of food and close to thirty volunteers later, food that would otherwise be thrown away is getting into the stomachs of people who need it.

“For a lot of them, especially smaller non-profits it can be a challenge for them to provide food on a consistent basis so if we can help supplement that it’s a help for them,” Losekamp said.

“All of our residents here, because of their drug and alcohol addiction, are able to obtain snap benefits but it’s still only 200 dollars a month. When you’re feeding between twenty and thirty men, seven days a week, three meals a day, 200 dollars a month doesn’t go very far,” Calloway said.

Losekamp coordinates pickups and deliveries five days a week. Volunteers stop in restaurants like Subway, Einstein’s and DaVinci’s to name a few to address food insecurities in the area.

“You learn about how you can make an impact but to go out and do something is really rewarding,” Losekamp.

Thursday evening, WKU President Tim Caboni awarded the student organization with a plaque for reaching the 5,000 lbs. of food diverted. Dr. Caboni said this is a great example of how the younger generation can do big things for the community.

“It means so much for it (WKU’s Food Recovery Network) to be recognized by the university, so hopefully it can grow even more. It started off with one person and one restaurant, Einsteins on campus, and it’s grown to the point where we’ve saved 5,000 pounds of food,” Allison Cook, the Vice President of WKU’s Food Recovery Network, said.

If you would like to volunteer with the organization, you can message their Instagram page @wkufoodrecovery.

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