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Extra food finds new life through donation

For the hungry guests visiting St. Herman House, hot meals are a respite from the challenges of homelessness and poverty. Compassion and hospitality are the cornerstones of St. Herman's mission, as they provide housing to homeless men and services to local people in need.

photo of the exterior of St Herman House and food served thereThrough an initiative that unites Baldwin Wallace with St. Herman House, "usable food waste" from Baldwin Wallace is being shared with the non-profit Cleveland organization.

Transforming Excess into Charitable Edibles

According to Dennis Dube, manager of BW's Lang Dining Hall, each week "usable food waste" ­- that is, the food that hasn't been touched by the patrons of Lang, the Union, the Colony Room - is donated to St. Herman House.

Marie Oravec, purchaser for dining services, is one of the early volunteers who 15 years ago began finding ways to put "leftover" food from dining events and vendors to good use for people in need. Since then, other dining services employees have joined the effort. Today, 50 students and BW employees, mostly in dining services, are involved.

Among the BW volunteers is Michele Sepesy, visit coordinator in admission who previously worked in the administrative side of BW dining services. In the past, Sepesy said, food that could not be served would go in a pulper on campus and eventually become fertilizer.

While she was happy the "usable food waste" wasn't going into a landfill, she was disappointed it wasn't helping people in need. She knew of St. Herman House from volunteer work she did there as part of a BW service-learning class.

"Our tie with St. Herman is one example of a greater BW effort to bring our mission of caring and community to Northeast Ohio and beyond," explained Sepesy. "The individuals we are helping may or may not know BW, but they do know that someone cares about their well-being."

NOTE: The original article appeared in BW's student newspaper, The Exponent. It has been edited and updated for use in BW news.

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