Niagara University’s new plan for leftovers aims to combat hunger

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB)- An effort to cut back on food waste led Niagara University to an even bigger undertaking; feeding the hungry.

“Last semester for the back of house, we started out of our kitchen “Do Away the Waste” program. And we were really paying attention to those numbers and seeing how much we prepared,” explained Catering Sales Managers for Metz Culinary Management at Niagara University, Nicole Slipko.

To wrap up Vincentian Heritage Week on campus, NU started a new program at the end of September; giving leftover food to two local non-profits.

Three times a week, Community Missions of Niagara Frontier and the Heart, Love, and Soul Food Pantry will collect extra food from campus.

“Meals that we had gotten last Friday served 116 people, so that was 116 people that we would have had to figure out something else for,” said Christian Hoffman with Community Missions.

Community Missions provides a slew of resources for the underprivileged in Niagara County; one of the issues they focus on most, is food.

A spike in the number of people Community Missions serves really hit the organization’s budget hard this year.

“The food pantry numbers are just through the roof. We are seeing a really substantial increase, 46% that we’re seeing over last year’s numbers,” he said.

Through this new program, people in need are getting access to high quality food that’s packed with nutrients.

“Everything that we cook here is from scratch. Any kind of vegetables that we put out on the lines are from our local farmers here in western New York,” Executive Chef for Metz Culinary Management at NU, Anthony Renda told News 4.

Not only are some NU student workers part of this program, the University is also educating students on the needs around them, something organizers of this project hope will spark further action.

“We’ve gone into 49 classes, trying to share with them the needs of this community,” Patricia Wrobel said.

Wrobel heads up the Levesque Institute on Nu’s campus. She looks at poverty on a larger scale, and elements that contribute to it in our community; Wrobel connected Metz to Community Missions and the Heart, Love, and Soul Food Pantry.

With winter approaching, said this program was badly needed.

Within it’s first week, Slipko said eight full trays of food were donated in just one day, to just one organization. Her hope is that this program continues to grow.

Click here to donate to Community Missions

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