Dining Services honored by Cambridge nonprofit

Three people standing at microphones during an award ceremony

Christa Martin (left) and David Davidson (center) were honored by receiving the Visionary Award. Photo by Kyle Klein

2 min read

David Davidson, managing director of Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS), and Crista Martin, director of strategic initiatives and communications at HUDS, were honored with the first ever Visionary Award from Cambridge non-profit Food for Free at its annual Party Under the Harvest Moon.

Davidson, Martin and the team from HUDS were instrumental in the launch of the Harvard Food Donation Program and the Harvard Family Meals Program. Both programs are partnerships with Food for Free that address chronic hunger in the Greater Boston area.

Through these two programs, any untouched, surplus food is given to Food for Free, which distributes it to local families. In a typical week during the academic year, Harvard may donate up to 1,200 pounds of food that was never served. Each week, around 1,000 nutritious meals are donated to families in need. The surplus is the result of serving approximately 20,000 meals per day, while simultaneously trying to accurately predict how many students will utilize their meal plan at any given meal.

Additionally, as part of the Harvard Family Meals program, volunteers work to repurpose leftover food into balanced meals of complementing proteins, starches and vegetables. Completed meals are individually wrapped, and then picked up by Food for Free and shared with families in the surrounding area.

“Harvard continues to be an innovative and amazing partner,” said Food for Free’s Executive Director Sasha Purpura. “David and Crista have been invaluable in ensuring that these programs that make a difference in the lives of our neighbors who need help continue to evolve and expand. We are grateful for Harvard’s continued partnership and look forward to ensuring that any excess fresh, healthy and unused food gets into the hand of those families and individuals who need it most.”

“We are incredibly proud of David, Crista, and the entire Dining Services team for their hard work and are thrilled with the ongoing success of the program,” said Harvard’s Vice President for Campus Services, Meredith Weenick. “These programs are examples of what can happen when local organizations work together to address and help meet a critical need.”