Student plans to combat food insecurity

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As problems associated with food insecurity, or lack of proper access to nutritious and sufficient food continues to grow, several Pacific University students 
have banded together in an attempt to create new initiatives and projects on campus that will feed any and all who hunger. 
Food insecurity was identified as a major problem on Pacific’s campus last semester by 2016 graduate Stephanie Stevens, who helped to create the Meal Donation Program.  This program permits students with meal plans to donate guest meals to individuals with no meal plans. The Meal Donation Program is in progress again for the 2016-2017 school year, after there was speculation that the program would not return. More recently, students in the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) created a Food Pantry on campus which is open to Pacific students, faculty and staff. The Food Pantry runs from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday. 
One student who recently joined the fight against food insecurity and who is trying to offer her own ideas to the crusade against student hunger is sophomore Layn Pollard. Pollard has been working with the CCE and Aramark, the on-campus dining service, to create a food rescue program. “My project is focusing on rescuing food that goes to waste on our campus, when it can still be used,” Pollard said. Originally, Pollard wanted to create a Hot Meal Rescue Program that would see already cooked food from the University Center (UC), that was not eaten during dining hours, be given to the CCE, which workers could then hand out and distribute to those in need. The program’s progress has been halted, however, as a result of red tape and the practices and policies of Aramark. The program would not be able to work as it currently stands as a result of a liability issue for Aramark. 
However, Pollard’s work is far from over as she plans to continue revising and reworking the program in an attempt to cut through the red tape and find a way in which the program may work in the future or at a later date. “On our campus, we produce enough food to sustain everybody on our campus,” Pollard said. “We produce more than enough for every person to have at least one meal a day. Yet, there are people who barely get anything.” Pollard also plans to work with B-Street Farms, where she currently works, to incorporate more vegetables and produce into the Food Pantry. 
Jacob Saiki, Aramark administrative assistant and sustainability intern, who has been working with Pollard to further develop her ideas, has been working to eliminate food waste in the U.C. Saiki also recently created a sustainability newsletter with monthly information on Aramark food waste and projects that are available online. Saiki has also been working to create a monthly meeting space and time where students and faculty can come together and discuss ideas for food service sustainability. “I am really hoping to create a space where student voices can be heard,” Saiki said. “I am hoping this will create more room for collaboration and continued communication between students and Aramark.”

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