Student reclaims dining hall food, distributes it to needy

Everyone wants to make a difference in this world in one way or another. Calvin freshman Cameron Kritikos is doing just that. He is joining the Food Recovery Network to help distribute food to local places around Grand Rapids that are in need.

The Food Recovery Network is a national organization that has 53 programs in 20 different states and in Washington, D.C. The oganization recovers food from colleges that would otherwise go to waste. They have distributed over 250,000 pounds of food thus far.

“The students come in and recover that food and donate it to local food banks or church congregations that serve nightly meals. So I thought that this would be an awesome idea to implement at Calvin,” said Kritikos.

Kritikos works in Knollcrest Dining Hall; he saw all the food being wasted and wanted to fix that. He remembered hearing about some way to fix the problem his senior year of high school. Kritikos did research and came across the Food Recovery Network. He figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to help others in need.

“I saw that Knollcrest was throwing out hundreds of pounds of food and it was really sickening at first.”

Kritikos has been working on getting the program here at Calvin up and running since November and he hopes to start collecting food on Feb. 18. They will start collecting twice a week in both dining halls.

 The food will be donated to the Supper House, which Kalsbeek-Huizenga-van Reken (KHvR) has a partnership with. The residents of KHvR, including Kritikos, go to the Supper House on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help serve dinners.

“These are people in need and people that are in need of a good meal. It might be their only hot meal of the week,” Kritikos said when talking about the people that come to the Supper House.

The Supper House has to feed 250 people on a budget of $250, so the food will be greatly appreciated. As soon as the lunch hour ends at the dining halls, the leftover food will be brought directly to the Supper House to be used.

“Hopefully, we can find some more churches and food pantries that are in need and then donate to those as we build those contacts.”

Kritikos has a leadership team consisting of seven students and a faculty advisor. He is sending in his charter to become a student organization as well. There are currently about 10 to 12 other volunteers.

“There are a ton of people talking about this, which is awesome.”

Kritikos is hoping to put flyers up around campus to get the word out about the program. Outreach is a huge part because they hope to grow the program and collect food every day of the week instead of just two days a week.

“It’s all moving really fast,” Kritikos said about the progress.

If students are interested in getting involved, they can contact Kritikos via email at [email protected] Volunteers are greatly needed to launch this  program. Kritikos is also talking to the student service center to get this going as a volunteer opportunity.

“Hunger and poverty and malnutrition is a really big issue in Grand Rapids, probably not one that we see very often in our day-to-day lives. But there are people in our community that are going hungry every day,” said Kritikos.

“There are a lot of problems in the world that we as college students cannot really directly impact. We are contained to Grand Rapids at the moment, but this is one of those problems that we can really attack. We have the power to fix this.”