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Student-Founded Nonprofit Changes Corporate Policy

Students Bike Donated Food to Reduce Carbon Footprint

How did a group of Colorado College students tackle the hunger problem? By changing the corporate policy of a $700 million company.

The founders of the Colorado Springs Food Rescue, Shane Lory ’16, Sanjay Roberts ’16, and John Orrell ’16, began biking unused food from Rastall Hall to the Marian House Soup Kitchen early in the fall of 2013. Bon Appétit, CC’s food supplier, which provides café and catering services to more than 500 corporations, colleges, and specialty venues in 32 states, has food donation programs at its locations; however, its policy stated that food put out for self-serve could not be donated.

The students worked with Bon Appetit to revise its corporate policy, and the company recently instituted the change. The new policy means that food items such as those in a self-serve buffet can be donated to hunger relief efforts in states where it is legally permissible.

“It’s wonderful that we can take even more food out of our waste stream and get it to people in need in our community,” said Claire Cummings, waste specialist with Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation. “The work of the CC students has made recovering more food possible for Bon Appétit accounts around the country.”

The nonprofit has made a big difference in other ways as well. By the time the second semester began, the cadre of volunteers had grown to more than 30 students who regularly bike the food donated not only from Rastall, but also five restaurants and a grocery store, to Springs Rescue and the Marian House. The students bike to help reduce the nonprofit’s carbon footprint, and have delivered more than 3,000 pounds of food to date.

Said Cummings, “We are grateful for the students’ initiative and willingness to work through this issue with us; it is a true testament to the power students have to change the food system.”

Colorado Spring Food Rescue has a 501(c)3 status as part of the umbrella organization Food Rescue Alliance.