Every Bite Counts Keeps Our Leftovers In the Community and Out of the Landfill

Ever found yourself wondering what happens to the leftover dining hall food? This precise thought popped into then-freshman Molly Murphy’s mind in 2005, and that is what brought Every Bite Counts to life here at Boston College.

Every Bite Counts (more commonly known as eBC) is a student volunteer group that “strives to combat hunger by eliminating food waste in BC’s dining halls,” says student group leader and eBC veteran Alicia Kosin, MCAS ’18.

Before the group was founded, 100% of the leftover dining hall food was disposed of either through composting or by throwing it out in the trash, but, starting in 2005, eBC began to take a more socially conscious approach by sending the leftovers to those in need.

Every Sunday through Thursday night, three member groups of volunteers get to work as soon as the dining halls stop serving dinner at 8 p.m. The group members place and seal the leftover food options from that night’s dinner into foil containers. Once sealed, the containers are labeled according to the type of meal inside and potential allergens in each dish, and then are weighed.

After the dining hall manager inspects and signs off on the food, each package is handed over to the Lovin’ Spoonfuls Food Rescue, which then brings the food directly to various homeless shelters and food pantries in the greater Boston area. The entire process takes about 30 to 40 minutes, and each club member is asked to commit to one session each week.

The club was originally formed as part of BC Dining’s Community Outreach Program, but has since been brought under UGBC’s control through the reorganization of their programming division.

Courtesy of BC Dining

Photo courtesy of BC Dining

With this new change, Caroline Alix and Lynn Petrella, both MCAS ’17, UGBC’s Directors of External Relations and Service, are splitting the responsibility of running the program. Alix makes it clear how excited she is about the program and their plans for this year. As the head of the program, it’s Alix’s job to both publicize the group and organize volunteering times and locations.

The group, which has teamed up with both the Lower and McElroy dining halls since its conception, will resume within the next two weeks and is expanding to Stuart Dining Hall on Newton Campus this year.

In addition to adding Stuart and increasing freshmen involvement in the program, eBC also hopes to grow by becoming more publicized on campus, donating lunch in addition to dinner food and, most importantly, finding a way to become closer with the people and communities they serve.

The program, and BC Dining in general, is of particular importance at BC because it aligns with the school’s mission to mold “men and women for others.” As a member of eBC, Alix has discovered that the university “really practices what they preach in ways that we as students don’t even know about, especially in the realms of fair trade and social justice.”

Alix explained that while it is obvious that BC is being mindful and socially sensible about food disposal by donating their leftovers, what might not be obvious is how hard BC Dining works in order to be socially conscious on a greater scale by doing things like supplying fair trade food in the dining hall whenever they can.

For Alix and the rest of the group, it is essential to note that BC does not just hide behind an artificial mask of community betterment, but really walks the walk by actively pursuing it. Kosin agrees, noting that the greatest incentive to volunteer is to know that, “as a member of eBC, you are volunteering and giving your time and help to others every week, even if it is only for a short amount of time.”

Every Bite Counts is a low-commitment, stress-free and non-exclusive service club at BC that gets at the heart of service, reminding members and non-members alike that serving others need not be a complex task, and can be as easy as taking 30 minutes out of the week to package up food in BC's dining halls.

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Stephanie Scanzillo