Campus & Community

Harvard helps fight hunger

2 min read

As Harvard University prepares to kick off Public Service Week (Oct. 19-25), President Drew Faust has announced today (Oct. 15) — on the eve of World Hunger Day — a University-wide commitment to enhance volunteer support of the Greater Boston Food Bank. Beginning with two sessions in November and continuing from January through the end of the academic year, Harvard students, faculty, and staff will volunteer at the Food Bank on Friday mornings.

Participation in this volunteer program requires working a Friday morning shift from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Tasks include inspecting, sorting, and repacking donated grocery products at the bank. Harvard will provide shuttle bus service from campus locations in Cambridge, Longwood, and Allston, along with a brown-bag lunch for all volunteers. The University encourages student groups and managers in all Schools and central administration units to assemble a volunteer team to support this effort.

The President’s Office will take the first shift by volunteering on Nov. 6, followed by Harvard Public Affairs and Communications on Nov. 20. Groups interested in staffing the shifts beginning in January should e-mail or call Harvard Public Affairs and Communications at 617.495.4955.

This new initiative marks Harvard’s first University-wide volunteer effort at the Food Bank and follows a long history of supporting local efforts to combat hunger. For example, Harvard University Dining Services, which serves 5 million meals annually, donates approximately 18,000 pounds of perishable food each year to the Food Bank, which in turn distributes it to local shelters. Through the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), a student-run, staff-supported public service organization at Harvard College, students volunteer annually at area homeless shelters and food banks.

Additional efforts to support hunger relief in the area are planned this fall. A student-led food and clothing drive at Harvard Extension School will support Cambridge food pantries, agencies, and area shelters. For more information, including drop-off locations on the Cambridge campus, go to the Extension School Web site. Harvard Athletics, in collaboration with PBHA and the Harvard Alumni Association, is also accepting cans of food at its Oct. 24 football game against Princeton.