The Food Fighters are an organization started at CNU in the fall of 2013.
Every week, they attempt to prevent food from going to waste by picking up excess food from both Regattas and the Commons. Then, they transport the uneaten food to the Peninsula Rescue Mission (PRM) in Newport News. Food Fighters president, Samantha Camilletti, discussed this process, explaining that deliveries are usually prompt and simple to perform.
“Our deliveries actually start at around 7:45 p.m. near whichever dining hall closes first (since the hours change based on the semester). For this semester, it’s Commons. The dining halls already have pans to put the food in, so all we do is load the food up in a spacious trunk, drive to the other dining hall to do the same, and then drive to the Peninsula Rescue Mission.
“Once we get there, there are usually a few people to help unload, and we bring it upstairs, weigh everything, and place them in the fridge,” said Camilletti.
Camilletti also explained that the deliveries are made by a revolving door of different clubs on campus who each volunteer their time to make the deliveries to PRM.
“We sign groups up for a week at a time and right now, all of the weeks until Christmas break are full! Everyone is so eager to step in and help. I was on a delivery with the president of Circle K and she told me that delivering for a week is one of their favorite activities that they participate in. That’s the kind of excitement I’ve seen so far and it’s just great.”
Despite the logistics involved in the program, the Food Fighters program is run by only a three-member leadership team who must perform a number of tasks in order to ensure the success of each week’s delivery.
“We have a three-member leadership team, myself included, and sometimes it feels like you’re running in overdrive to make sure everything gets done. That includes making sure groups know exactly what they’re doing and who they can call if they’re not sure about something, that’s organizing orientation meetings for new groups delivering, that’s staying on top of ordering pans from the Peninsula Rescue Mission so the dining halls don’t run out.”
Camilletti expressed satisfaction with the direction the Food Fighters program is headed in.
“I’m really content with where this program is right now. We deliver anywhere from 300-500 pounds of food a week, and that makes up a large portion of contributions for the PRM.
They’ve actually had to turn away a potential donor because we’re providing them with so much food.”
However, she also stressed that she hopes to expand the Food Fighters program to at least one other local shelter.
“I would love to see this program expand to at least one other shelter to provide assistance if we can continue to fully support the PRM. I’m working on that right now, but it’s more difficult than it sounds. For one, we have to find a shelter that has a need we can fulfill. Also, the biggest obstacle is trying to gather funds to buy food pans, because many shelters can’t afford the pans themselves. With that comes the question on where the money is going to come from, and everything hasn’t come together quite yet.”
Still, Camilletti expressed her overall enthusiasm for the course of Food Fighters, indicating that the rewards far outweigh the costs.
“I also just love seeing the energy that people bring to this program, whether it’s through groups who are just really excited about delivering, or the staff at the PRM who are just so happy to see a car full of food (and good food, at that!) coming their way. I had no idea what I was getting myself into this year, but so far, everything has surpassed my expectations. Delivering food is by no means glamorous, but it makes a difference in someone’s day. That’s what matters.”