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University of Virginia Students Fighting Food Insecurity in Charlottesville

A group of University of Virginia students is fighting food insecurity in and around Charlottesville with Food Assist.

“It’s one of these things where we don’t realize how big we are in a food system and how many different pieces there are,” President of UVA Food Assist Garreth Bartholomew said, “Food Assist is an organization that transports would-be food waste to those in need from UVA organizations, such as Greek like on Grounds, restaurants, dining halls, but also off Grounds like Chick-fil-a and some of our affiliate partners in the Charlottesville community,”

Volunteers go on food runs to pick up the excess food and each runner gets a cooler bag to keep the items fresh.

“You walk into your community partner for example, this is Chick-fil-a, you will walk up to the cashiers counter, and you’ll say I’m here with food assist or another name and then they will come out with your food,” volunteer coordinator Emily Carder said, “We want to make this into a community network where you are feeling as though you are helping a neighbor. That neighbor in turn helps you when you are down on your luck and don’t have enough to eat.”

After the food is bagged up, it is taken to one of multiple drop-off locations including The Salvation Army and the Community Food Pantry on UVA Grounds.

Bartholomew says the need is just as great outside of UVA and he wants to make sure everyone has equal access to food.

“It’s one of these tremendous experiences of people that would otherwise not be able to necessarily afford going to these restaurants still able to access this food that would have otherwise gone in the trash. It’s a really great feeling to know that we’re not only making the waste a little bit lighter on the Chick-fil-a side, but also making bellies a little bit fuller on the food insecurity side,” Bartholomew said.

Source: NBC 29