Vanderbilt program donates unused food to needy - WSMV Channel 4

Vanderbilt program donates unused food to needy

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Each day in Nashville one and six people go hungry. The number is even more staggering when it comes to children -- one and four.

To help alleviate that problem, for the past month students at Vanderbilt University have joined the fight on hunger.

When sophomore's Will McCollum and MaCauley Muir grab a meal for someone in need at a Vanderbilt cafeteria, it comes in the form of a wooden token.

The program is called Share-a-Side.  McCollum and Muir came up with the idea after organizing another food donation program last school year.  They noticed a number of students not using all of their meal plans.

"When that happens, we thought, "What if you take that extra side that you're not going to take and instead you donate it?'" said Muir.

To turn their idea into meals, these sophomores worked along side Vanderbilt's director of dining services.

"The interesting thing with these two gentlemen was it was just an idea they came up with to support the community, not for any student organization or student group, which is pretty cool," said the Director of Vanderbilt's Dining Services Camp Howard.

When it comes to taking part in the program, it's pretty easy. Students pick up one side, leave one behind, show the cashier a token and then drop it into the donation station.

"It's interesting because it's everyone just giving a little bit, and that's been huge," said Muir.

"Hunger is definitely a problem, but I think this is just a simple way to make it so students have the choice to donate," said McCollum.

Each token donates enough money to buy a meal through Second Harvest Food Bank.  So far students have donated nearly 11,000 meals.

"I never really used up all of my sides before, and I think it's a really good chance to give to someone in need," said Piper.

Share-a-Side has been so successful they plan to do it once a semester. McCollum and Muir are now looking at ways to expand it to other college campuses.

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