KINGSTON, ON, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - Delivering excess food portions from Queen's
University residence dining halls to people in local street shelters, a
coalition of Queen's students is working to raise awareness about Canadians
living in poverty.
Soul Food organizes volunteer students to pick up the excess food at
8:30 p.m., just after Queen's dining halls close and the local shelters open
for the evening.
"The timing is perfect," says Phil Sparks, Sodexho's Resident District
Manager of Food Services at Queen's. "There is always some excess food when we
close the dining halls. We wrap it, take a temperature check when the students
arrive to pick it up, and it's at the shelter within a few minutes of leaving
the dining hall."
At no extra cost to students or the university, Soul Food promotes
responsible food consumption by using food that might otherwise go to waste.
Initiated by a group of students from Queen's Hillel and led by
fourth-year students Sheri Krell and Tyler Peikes working with Queen's
Outreach Coordinator Marija Linjacki, Soul Food made two trial runs last
spring to the Street Mission Truck parked on the corner of Clergy and Princess
Streets in Kingston's downtown.
"The response was so overwhelmingly positive we wanted to do it seven
nights a week this year," says Ms Krell, Soul Food Co-chair.
Realizing the program would need more volunteers, Soul Food put out a
call to Queen's clubs. "The response was great, with seven clubs committing
immediately and several more considering a commitment," she adds.
In addition to Hillel, student groups in the Soul Food coalition include:
Queen's University Muslim Students Association, Students Helping Others
Understand Tolerance, Students Against Indifference, Queen's Asian Focus, the
United Way and Volunteer Crew of the Alma Mater Society's Municipal Affairs
Commission, Arts and Science Undergraduate Society and students from Women's
Studies Gender and Poverty class.
"We are extremely fortunate to have such a compassionate group of
students pulling together to make a real difference in the fight against
hunger," says Sparks. "Our company formed the Sodexho Foundation in 2001 with
the goal to STOP Hunger. As a part of this overarching initiative, our food
services team at Queen's has participated in a number of hunger relief
programs over the past few years."
"When we were approached by Ms. Krell and Mr. Peikes with the Soul Food
concept, it resonated with our food services team and our clients at Queen's.
I see it as a model for what can be accomplished when students, education
institutions and corporate Canada come together."
While the program has a primary commitment to the Street Mission Truck
where they deliver food first, the co-chairs maintain a list of Kingston
shelters and take remaining food to a different one each night.
"Soul Food is making a difference to those who come to the Street Truck
for food, warmth, and a sense of community," says Street Truck Mission
Coordinator Darcy Izzard.
"This is a perfect example of how students and the university can have a
positive impact on members of the community," says Bruce Griffiths, Director
of Housing and Hospitality Services for Queen's. "It always seemed a shame
that we had to throw out perfectly good food," he said. "This program not only
feeds people in need but also furthers our sustainability goals."
The extended program which began in late October delivers about 120 kgs
of food, which is approximately 300 meals per week.
Sodexho, Inc. is a leading integrated food and facilities management
services company in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with $7.3 billion in annual
revenue and 125,000 employees. Sodexho serves more than ten million customers
daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers,
schools, college campuses, government and remote sites. Sodexho has been
awarded the Gold level certificate for the progressive Aboriginal Relations
program (PAR) with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB). The
company's corporate citizenship priorities include fighting hunger and
malnutrition, improving the quality of life of those served and protecting the
For further information:
For further information: Jon Kristjanson, VP Marketing and
Communications, Sodexho, Executive Director, Sodexho Foundation, Email:
jon.kristjanson@sodexhoCA.com, TEL: (877) 632-8592 ext. 250