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Bon Appétit District Manager Dave Herbert joins the Mount’s Jotanna Proescholdt, Barbara Tell, Su-Yin Kok and Chris McAlary to volunteer at The Midnight Mission.
The Mount's excess food helps 'Chefs to End Hunger'
Mount St. Mary’s has become the first college to participate in Chefs to End Hunger, a program that donates excess food from restaurants and hotels to local agencies serving meals to those in need. Since February, Mount St. Mary’s has been saving food leftover from its cafeterias and campus events, donating about eight large boxes of food each week to The Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles.
Chefs to End Hunger is the creation of LA & SF Specialty, a food distributor based in four Western states. The Mount’s partnership with LA & SF Specialty is the fruit of two years’ work to find a safe, reliable way to get unused food from the College to those in need. Bon Appétit, the Mount’s on-campus food provider, helped connect the College to Chefs to End Hunger.
“We have food that goes unused after events, at the cafeteria,” says Jotanna Proescholdt, Mount St. Mary’s director of auxiliary services and food services. “But there are issues with donating food, keeping it safe, and a lot of red tape with regulations.”
Partnering with LA & SF Specialty enables the Mount to get its leftovers to the Midnight Mission safely, efficiently and consistently. “They provide us with proper boxes, instructions, and when they’ll pick-up food during the week,” Proescholdt says. “Then they take the food to their facility where it is combined with any other donations and delivered all together to the Midnight Mission.”
The food donations are another extension of Mount Saint Mary’s University-wide emphasis on “fostering a spirit of service.” Donated meals help support The Midnight Mission's work, which helps individuals on Skid Row transition into self-sufficient citizens. In addition to its other services, The Midnight Mission provides 90,000 meals a month.
Some of Mount St. Mary’s own staff have already spent time volunteering at The Midnight Mission, helping to serve meals that they helped to provide. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is the other L.A.-based relief agency partnering with Chefs to End Hunger. Mount St. Mary’s students, faculty, staff and friends often volunteer with the L.A. Regional Food Bank, such as during last month’s “President’s Invitation to Serve.”
According to a 2012 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten — $165 billion worth of spoiled each year that clutters the nation’s landfills. The Council’s report states that: “Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans ever year, at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables.”