A&M Group Feeds the Poor with Leftover Restaurant Food

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas Have you ever wondered what happens to leftover restaurant food after closing time? Mostly, it's thrown away. But there's a group of Texas A&M University students who is working to reduce that number.

In the Fall of 2013, Lindy Nelson, a junior at Texas A&M, found a way to pick up leftover food and donate it to a local mission.

"There's no reason for food to be thrown away," said Nelson.

Nelson started the A&M chapter of the National Food Recovery Network. Since it all began, her team of volunteers has grown to 40 students, and together they've picked up and donated more than 20,000 pounds of food to the Twin City Mission in Bryan.

The group works six days a week, picking up leftover food from places like the Sbisa Dining Hall, Panera Bread, and Einstein Bros Bagels.

"They would call us the bagel fairies," said Nelson.

Ron Crozier with the Twin City Mission said the food has the potential to save the mission thousands of dollars each year in food costs. And the quality of the food is excellent.

"When you talk about food recovery, you're talking about food that has passed inspection, has been prepared, ready to serve," said Crozier. "And at the end of the day, that food was being thrown out, because there was no place to put it."

Matthew Tucker said he's been with the Recovery Network for about two weeks, but has loved every minute of it.

"It just makes so much sense. There's a number of food service industries that are getting rid of food, and there's people in the Bryan, College Station area that are going hungry," said Tucker.

Nelson said it's also a great way to get students off campus, and into the community.

"We're college students, most of our parents are paying for us to be here. And people right down the street from us don't have the same privileges as we do," said Nelson.

Nelson said it's not always a pretty job.

"I had to get my car washed, because clam chowder, meat sauce, and some other unknown substance spilled in my car after recovery," said Nelson. "And they said it was 42 dollars because they were disgusted by how gross it was."

Nelson said they're always looking for more restaurant donations. If you're interested, email Nelson at nelson.lindy@gmail.com.

For more information on the Food Recovery Network, click on the link added to this story.