Just before Late Night, the dining hall staff began turning over buckets of vegetables from the salad bar into a hefty plastic bin, prompting me to wonder where this mountain of food was going. In a state like Massachusetts, where Feeding America reports that one in 10 people go hungry, food insecurity is too prevalent an issue to be tossing salad right into the trash.
At my high school, leftover food was regularly donated to local food shelters, and, fortunately, there is an active effort to do the same here. Largely unacknowledged, the student-run organization Every Bite Counts works to transport BC Dining’s surplus to the greater Boston community in an effort to combat food insecurity and malnutrition in the city.
Speaking with Kevin Batti from Every Bite Counts, I learned the specifics of the organization. Teaming up with Lovin’ Spoonfuls, another non-profit, around 50 students regularly package, label, and distribute 300 pounds of food per week. Batti noted that since the club was started, there has been a greater effort to reduce food waste so the amount of excess food and, thus, food donated will likely be on the decline.
In fact, Stuart Dining Hall on Newton Campus now produces so little food waste that Every Bite Counts no longer packages excess food there, as there was not enough to donate. This year, Every Bite Counts is just operating out of Mac and Lower from Sunday to Thursday.
Ultimately, this is a positive, as there are often restrictions on which foods can be donated based on how long the produce has been sitting out on display. This is why Every Bite Counts is now looking to brainstorm ways to repurpose food in a way that is legal and also healthy for consumers. Additionally, a point drive is held every semester, raising over $10,000 for Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Ideally, this initiative will be expanded into the smaller dining halls this year.
Every Bite Counts is certainly still active and looking for more hands, and if you see food that looks like it’s headed to the dump, it’s likely because there is simply no other healthy choice. And to continue to make a lasting change in reducing BC Dining food waste, the responsibility lies on us students. Simple changes, like composting and recycling, will make a big difference.