Food Recovery Network Feeds Hungry Americans with Surplus Food

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Student Movement Opens Up New Chapters Across the Nation to Aid More Hungry Americans and Prevent Food Waste

The FRN is excited about saving food and feeding people!

Small budgets and big hearts are the key to our success.

This month, the Food Recovery Network (FRN) launched "More Students. Less Waste." its first national campaign to raise awareness about food waste and hunger. The campaign began during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and also sought to get more students to start new chapters of FRN, which donates the food from college campus dining halls that would otherwise be wasted to America’s hungry and homeless.

Students from a total of 12 schools around from all across America pledged to start a new chapter of Food Recovery Network at their college, including Tufts University, Cornell University, and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Food Recovery Network has quickly gained explosive momentum, growing from just an idea to its current 11 campuses in just one year. Completely student-run and with no paid staff, the organization has donated over 90,000 pounds of food to date, which they estimate fed 72,000 meals to people in need. All of this food would have been sent to a landfill.

FRN was founded by Ben Simon, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. He formed FRN because he was deeply concerned about two problems in the United States, hunger and climate change. According to the EPA, Americans throw away 40% of all the food in the supply chain, while 1 in 6 Americans meanwhile don’t know where their next meal is coming from; Simon’s goal is to provide one simple solution for both of these complex problems.

Private research by the organization has shown that 22 million pounds of food is thrown away from college dining halls each year. The student volunteers invest their time and gas money, to picking up and redistributing the food to local food banks and charities, all for a modest cost of 10 cents a meal.

“It’s amazing to think that we have been able to make such a large impact completely running on volunteerism,” says Simon. “Small budgets and big hearts are the key to our success.”

Now, with its newly earned 501(c)(3) status, FRN is aiming to expand its operations across America and has its goals set on donating up to 50 million pounds of food in the next 5 years.

To do this, FRN is raising funds for a full time staff through donations and business pitch competitions. Just last week, Simon presented against 31 of the region’s top social entrepreneurs in Miami for a chance to win $100,000 in the 2012 abc* Continuity Forum.

This summer, Food Recovery Network won the $16,000 national grand prize in the Banking on Youth Competition, sponsored by Ashoka and the Consumer Bankers Association. In the spring, they also took the $5,000 grand prize in the Kevin Bacon Do Good Challenge at UMD.

The Food Recovery Network unites students at colleges and universities across America to fight food waste and hunger by recovering surplus perishable food from their college campuses and surrounding communities that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to people in need.

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