Caf to Community


With spring break right around the corner I am nearing 25 blogs for the school year. Yet of all the things I’ve written about—from skydiving back in November, to my date with the city of Decorah a few weeks ago—I haven’t talked much about my work study or the Sustainability Department, which are two of my favorite things about Luther.

While I don’t have enough time in a 600 word blog to talk about all the amazing things going on in Sustainability, I thought it’d be a great time to introduce one of the best programs in the department and, in my opinion at Luther—Caf to Community.

Cafeteria to Community is a program that started in November 2013 with the goal to make use of leftover food from the cafeteria. Instead of simply throwing out food, it is packed by volunteers (and student coordinators like myself). We then deliver the food to the First Lutheran Church Food Pantry in downtown Decorah.

The program is awesome for several reasons, particularly for mitigating food waste while also feeding those hungry in the community. I apologize in advance for the next paragraph or so, because I will be ranting a bit—but seriously for anyone who is reading this blog, these are HUGE and SERIOUS issues at hand that people need to not just be aware of, but ACT on.

Food waste is one of the biggest sources of waste, with estimates that we throw out around 40% of all our food in America. That means we aren’t just wasting the food, but also all the money, time, energy, fossil fuels, and carbon emissions that went into making that food. And the dumbest part about the majority of food waste, like what was wasted in the Caf prior to this program, is that it is perfectly, 1000000000% good, quality food that gets thrown out simply because too much was made. Yet at the same time we waste so much food, people are still going hungry, and not just in developing countries, but right here throughout the US.

Despair not though because there are easy ways to mitigate waste while also helping out people in need, and Caf to Community is an excellent example. Since the program’s inception in 2013, over

20,000

pounds of food have been packed. And as of the first packing date of this 2015-2016 school year, August 19, we’ve already packed 5,890 pounds of food! Just think of how much food is now filling the tummies of those in need instead of rotting in a landfill or compost somewhere!

Now that you’re excited by the prospect of being part of such an amazing program visit Luther’s website to sign up and volunteer soon. We pack on Sunday and Wednesday nights (usually 7-8:30) and while there are only a few more spots needed for the rest of the spring, the next school year will also have a lot of volunteer opportunities open. While you’re at it, check out the rest of Sustainability’s page. There are some amazing sustainability programs at Luther (which I will for sure be posting about in the future).

Some volunteers help pack food

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