West

WELLESLEY

Wellesley schools to donate food to people in need

A number of schools and colleges in Wellesley and the Metro West area are expected to donate an estimated 20,000 meals this year to an organization in Cambridge that takes surplus and leftover food and passes it on to people in need.

Wellesley’s 3R Working Group, which consists of representatives from the town’s Department of Public Works, its Sustainable Energy Committee, and its Natural Resources Commission, has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency New England and the Cambridge-based nonprofit Food For Free to develop a collaborative food rescue initiative.

The participants include Wellesley Public Schools, Babson College, Bentley University, Olin College of Engineering, and Wellesley College. To date, over 4,000 pounds of food have been donated since September from Bentley, Olin, and Wellesley Middle School; the program was rolled out in the other schools in recent weeks.

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Food For Free is repackaging this rescued food into single-serve meals. Recipients may include people living in shelters, in temporary housing such as motels, in housing without full kitchens, and those receiving Meals on Wheels.

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“The commitment and teamwork of the food services organizations is key to the success of such an initiative,” said Alison Cross, a member of the 3R Working Group. “They are responsible for moving the surplus food through the process of collection, storage, and preparation for pickup, while protecting the integrity and safety of the food.”

The food service vendors participating through the schools and colleges are Whitsons Culinary Group, Rebecca’s Café, Sodexo, Chartwells, and AVI Foodsystems.

Jennifer Fenn Lefferts can be reached at jflefferts@yahoo.com