This fall, Asheville School's Students for Environmental Action (SEA) club brought a longtime goal to fruition. Students in the club wanted to reduce food waste from the dining hall, so they researched and implemented the steps necessary to donate excess food to Veterans Restoration Quarters, a local nonprofit that serves homeless veterans.
Asheville School instructor Christine Jones is the faculty sponsor of SEA. She said that the club decided to make reduction of food waste a priority this year. After reaching out to Food Connection, which works to connect extra food to people in need, the club realized that making food donations was a feasible goal and that they needed to raise money to buy pans that could be used to transport the food.
SEA members devised a fundraiser that could involve the whole school in a fun, engaging manner while raising the necessary funds to complete their project. They held a candy walk on Halloween Day, during which participants contributed a dollar for a chance to win a bag of candy.
"We chose this project because it's something directly related to us—it was a project we could accomplish and that the student body could join in on," said senior SEA member Counti McCutchen. "We all see in the dining hall when food has to be tossed. Through raising money to buy [pans], we were able to help those who do not readily have food available."
Jones said that the students pulled off the fundraiser and had a great time. "Students from SEA and the Advanced Placement Environmental Science class did a great job of running the walk and generated a lot of enthusiasm. Our fundraiser was so successful that we now have the money to buy pans to last us the rest of the year!"
Food Connection suggested that SEA contact Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry's Veterans Restoration Quarters, which is a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless veterans get back on their feet.
Jones and the students were excited that they were able to coordinate this first donation; Jones says that she is grateful for help across the Asheville School community and looks forward to making food donations a regular practice. "Our dining hall, run by Teresa Doda, does a great job in minimizing waste on the front end," she said. "They make popular meals and generally have very few leftovers. However, leftovers do occasionally happen, especially right before a major break. We greatly appreciate the dining hall staff's help in making this happen."Jones says that beginning in January, donations to Veterans Restoration Quarters will become a regular practice.