HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 4, 2016 – It started out with High Point University student Haley Slone wanting her fellow students to donate surplus meals to those battling hunger in the city of High Point. In spring 2015, Slone spoke with Ryan Melino, retail brand manager for HPU’s hospitality team, about helping to expand her efforts.
“I knew that we had a great resource here at HPU to give food to the community and it was something that I always wanted to do,” said Melino. “Once I met Haley, I knew that this was my opportunity to make an impact.”
Melino helped Slone and a few of her classmates begin packaging the surplus food from HPU dining locations to give to Open Door Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides housing, food, job and education assistance to the homeless and low-income individuals and families in the High Point area. Now, HPU students package the food three times a week and bring it to Open Door Ministries.
“It warmed my heart to see my friends at Open Door Ministries eating nutritious foods such as fresh vegetables and chicken,” said Slone. “I hope that the bond between the students and the community continues to grow through this effort.”
“The food that is donated certainly is a great help to us in our ability to continue our dining services,” said Leslie Graham, director of development for Open Door Ministries. “Because of this, we are able to add a greater variety of food choices to the three meals that we serve daily. The donated trays of prepared meats, vegetables, potatoes and beans have made a significant difference to the people we serve every day. We are so grateful and thankful for everything HPU has done for us.”
In fall 2015, these students formed an organization and became the HPU Food Recovery Network (FRN). FRN is a national initiative where students on college campuses unite to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to people in need. Last semester, the students donated over 8,000 pounds of food to Open Door Ministries, and hope to exceed that this semester.
“Once Haley graduated, I knew that I wanted to take over this project,” said Gabby Vigorito, president of HPU’s Food Recovery Network. “I love that we have taken this small idea and grown it into a huge effort. Being a part of this has made me want to be a better student and become more engaged with the High Point community. It makes me so happy to know that I am able to help feed many hungry people.”