Poet Profile: Shaina Denny and the Food Recovery Network

Poet Profile: Shaina Denny and the Food Recovery Network

Article by: Leandro Fefer (Quaker Campus)

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – Women's Lacrosse senior midfielder Shaina Denny (Seal Beach, Calif.) who is in her last season with the Purple & Gold has continued carrying on the Food Recovery Network (F.R.N.), which is a club gathering excess food from Bon Appetit and giving it to a soup kitchen in Uptown Whittier.

From last Jan. Term to the end of the spring semester Whittier College donated approximately 1338.68 pounds of cooked food to needing men, women, and children in the Whittier area.  The Food Recovery Network (F.R.N), a club on campus with national ties, started last semester and worked in cooperation with Bon Appetit to take leftovers from the Campus Inn (C.I.) to a soup kitchen at St. Mattias Episcopal Church in Uptown Whittier.

"The program started in January and was spearheaded by Amanda Edwards who graduated," said Bon Appetit Director of Operations Lucille Alcaraz.  "She was the key person; she formed the club and spearheaded the operation." How the operation works is that the Bon Appetit staff packages weighs and labels all leftovers from meals at the C.I., and then on Mondays and Fridays, a student volunteer takes the food over to St. Mattias Church.  The staff at the church is in charge of distributing the food to an average of 150 people who go to their food line on any given day.

This semester, the F.R.N. has made two food carrying trips and supplied 113.74 pounds of food to people in need in the Whittier community.  However, this year, the F.R.N. club has gotten a lot smaller.  Denny has made both trips herself.  While she has had help from senior cross country runner Alyssa Fluss (Oceanside, Calif.) who has done paperwork and organized a table at the activities fair, Denny has had to do the manual labor herself.  But Denny is not deterred.  "It only takes a few very dedicated members to make a difference," Denny said.

For Denny, it is all about making a difference.  "I do it for the people; we provide food for the hungry, bottom line," Denny stated.  "Also we save the environment.  Food waste makes up for 25 percent of the waste at municipal waste landfills and contributes to the release of methane gas."

The students of the F.R.N. are not the only ones who make a difference.  The job of producing and packaging the food is in the hands of Bon Appettit staff members, who, according to Alcaraz, "love to be involved," in the community effort.  "They get a sense of gladness to feed those who have needs and wants," Alcaraz said.

The only issue that could lie ahead for the F.R.N. would be a lack of student participation.  The club has no official positions, according to Denny, and people volunteer at their own pace with no pressure.  However, this no pressure situation was able to produce 1,338.68 pounds of food for the Whittier Community.  "Its 15 minutes out of my day and 150 people get a full meal at the shelter," Denny said.