Matthew Weale ‘16 and Alexandra Hagney ‘16 are bringing relief to the local homeless population with help from Skidmore College. Feedmore is a local hunger relief program that collects uneaten, yet perfectly edible food from the Skidmore College dining hall in order to supply vulnerable populations with a hot meal and a gesture of compassion.
Weale, a Mathematics major and Computer Science minor, explained what drove him to bring Feedmore to our campus: “When I first came to Skidmore, I was overwhelmed by the number of homeless people living in the streets, especially given the climate that we live in. It’s pretty treacherous. Also, working in the Dining Services really exposed me to the amount of food waste that was going on in the Dining Services.”
Weale was scrolling through Twitter one day when he came across a post about a similar program. Combined with his observations of the disheartening number of homeless people in Saratoga and his experience of working with Dining Services, he took the steps to assuage a problem that had been troubling him for over two years. He contacted Hagney, a Business and Dance major, who was also having qualms about the amount of food being thrown away on campus.
Hagney says her interest in joining Weale were for the same reasons that inspired Weale to initiate the program. “Over two years in and out of classes, I’ve had peers do projects about issues on campus, one being food waste - but no one has really done anything about it. So once we started looking into other schools that were doing exactly what we wanted to do, we realized how easy it was. It was just about getting the right amount of people together, talking to the right people, and so we took on the initiative to do it. Coming from my background at home, I've always been involved with the community and Saratoga has been great to me so far, so why not give back a little bit?”
Every Tuesday and Friday morning at 9 a.m., the Feedmore club meets at the Atrium to work with Dining Hall staff members to collect the excess food into containers and drive it to the Saratoga Soup Kitchen on Circular Street.
Hagney says they have received a heartwarming response from student volunteers so far, but hopes for an expansion of the effort. “We had a lot of kids come that were just as passionate about it. There were freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors. We don’t necessarily know them, but we were able to connect with them on this common issue that we want addressed. It’s open to anyone. If you want to come down once, great! You made a difference. If you want to come down every Tuesday and Friday, that’s even better. We take as many people as we can, whoever wants to help. It’s definitely open to the entire community, so hopefully once we start going more, we’ll get more donations and more colleges involved.”
Weale says moving forward will require publicizing their work to the student body. “Going forward, I hope to open the eyes of the college community in realizing how much food is going to waste, whether it’s just the Dining Services planning to throw it away and Feedmore saving it before it’s thrown away, or it’s people just taking way too much food and then not touching it - which I think is another problem, but that’s something we can’t do anything about. I would like to ask more people to get involved. It's a really easy cause and its helping so many, and as we get into the winter and get to sleep in our warm dorms and go to the dining hall and eat great food, there’s still people out there five to ten minutes away who are struggling to get a hot meal on their plate or even a bed to sleep in. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for people to give back and to realize how lucky they are here at Skidmore as well as the things that we could do through our college to help out the community. Don’t be afraid to get involved!”
Check out the Feedmore Skidmore Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FeedMoreSkidmore?fref=ts) for more information.