Students are now able to use their leftover swipes to purchase and donate groceries to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank at three campus dining locations.
“We just have all these leftover swipes and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Micah Kamrass, Undergraduate Student Government president. “It’s an inexpensive project for us that could make a big difference.”
Jenny Applegate, director of dining for student life and USG, said she purchased medium-sized moving boxes to be placed at Burritos Noches, The Marketplace and Morrill C-Store. Non-perishable items, such as canned goods, pasta, rice and cereal, can be put in the boxes, which a member of Applegate’s dining committee will monitor.
“We’re each going to check one,” said Applegate, a second-year in Spanish and business. “Once they’re full, I’m going to load up my car and drive to the food bank.”
Once the food gets to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, it will join millions of pounds of food waiting to be distributed across 20 counties in Ohio.
“Right now, we’re distributing about 4 million pounds of food every month,” said Colin Baumgartner, communication and marketing director at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, which distributes food to programs including soup kitchens, food pantries and after-school programs.
“Over the last 12 months, our demand has been as high as ever,” Baumgartner said.
Baumgartner said donations are not growing alongside the demand partly because of the slow economy, looming budget cuts and technology.
“Donations from the food industry are going down because they’re getting more technologically savvy and not producing as much waste,” Baumgartner said.
Baumgartner said the donation boxes will make a big difference to the food bank.
“It keeps putting food that would otherwise go to waste on the table of families who need it,” Baumgartner said.
Kamrass said he considers himself privileged to be at Ohio State and wants to help others less fortunate than he is.
“OSU’s motto is Education for Citizenship,” Kamrass said. “We’re just trying to provide ways we can all be better citizens.”
Although the impact of the donation program can be big and it “can last a long time,” Kamrass said, he’s keeping his expectations simple.
“We just hope students will give whatever they can,” Kamrass said.
Director of Campus Dining Services Zia Ahmed said dining services is careful to support donation programs because there are so many student groups on campus, saying “yes” to some and “no” to some becomes “difficult to balance.”
“We’re usually not the driver of these programs,” Ahmed said. “We only support when we’re asked to support university-wide programs.”
Because USG represents the entire undergraduate student body, Ahmed said he will consider continuing the program if USG wants to.
“We’re definitely going to review it quarter by quarter to evaluate whether it causes a disruption to our services,” Ahmed said. “If not, we’ll be happy to help.”
Students could make these donations starting Monday.
Nicholas Justus, a first-year in biomedical engineering, said donating groceries would be a better way to get rid of extra swipes than buying large amounts of food.
“I feel like we’re just eating an exorbitant amount of food at the end of the quarter,” Justus said. “This would be a little healthier.”
Tabitha Smith, a first-year in chemical engineering, said she is excited to donate.
“I like giving, and I feel like they need the food more than I do,” Smith said.