May 2020
Volume 3, Issue 8

Making Move-out Sustainable

Donate, Don’t Dump Grocery Give & Grab

Advertising image for Donate, Don’t Dump

Advertising image for Donate, Don’t Dump

Each spring semester, Residence Life partners with Goodwill for the annual Donate, Don’t Dump during move-out. Residents are able to donate their durable goods such as furniture, clothing, and décor rather than toss them in the trash and add waste to the landfill. Due to the pandemic, the usual method for donations had to be altered to observe government and health department guidelines.

The remaining residents on campus, about 25% of total capacity, were sent information on moving out with several options listed for them to choose from. One option that was provided to residents was to donate any items that remained in their room after they had moved out. Dozens of residents who selected this option was compiled and staff entered the rooms several days later to assess how much stuff was to be donated. Items were packed up and any trash was removed from the spaces. Facilities & Operations student workers assisted with loading items onto trucks for transport. Dozens of items ranging from furniture to dishware to décor were saved from the landfill and taken to Goodwill where they will have a second life with someone else.

Grocery Give & Grab

Signage placed on G3 bins

Signage placed on G3 bins

In spring 2019, Residence Life expanded to hosting a Grocery Give & Grab (G3) program during move-out. G3 was developed to address food insecurity amongst residents. Bins are placed in central Residence Life areas across campus that allow residents to donate unopened, unexpired, nonperishable food. Other residents who may be suffering from food insecurity are encouraged to take any items from the bins that they may need, no questions asked. The first G3 was extremely well-received from students, faculty, and staff. In total, over 340 lbs. of food was collected during move-out and taken to the Brazos Valley Food Bank (BVFB) to help local families in need.

Similar to Donate, Don’t Dump, G3 had to be modified to keep individuals as safe as possible. A limited number of bins were placed in the most central common areas of residential neighborhoods and were checked regularly for items that did not meet donation criteria. In addition, any food items left in resident rooms that selected the “donation” option for move-out were also collected to take to BVFB. Overall, almost 200 lbs. of food was donated to help others in the Bryan-College Station community.

Food Insecurity and COVID-19

Food insecurity has been present prior to the current pandemic. Many national nonprofits and local agencies work hard daily to make sure all citizens have their basic needs met to reduce the statistics below.

Statistics

  • The amount of people worldwide who face severe food insecurity could double to 265 million[1]
  • In 2018, 1 in 9 Americans were food insecure[2]
  • According to Feeding America, over 43,000 people in Brazos County are food insecure (20% rate of food insecurity)[3]
  • Over 40 million people in the United States are food insecure[4]

Due to the pandemic many have lost their jobs and the loss of income and financial stability has created an influx of individuals and families that rely on their local food banks for support. The amount of people worldwide who face severe food insecurity could double to 265 million.[5] This increase in demand has seen food banks stretched thin with their services and the amount of food they can provide to families. Now, more than ever, they need help to make sure no man, woman, or child goes hungry while worrying about their health. Below you will find a variety of ways that you can help address food insecurity in the face of COVID-19.

[1]https://www.csis.org/programs/global-food-security-program/covid-19-and-food-security

[2]https://hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org/understand-food-insecurity/

[3] https://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2017/overall/texas/county/brazos

[4] https://map.feedingamerica.org/

[5]https://www.csis.org/programs/global-food-security-program/covid-19-and-food-security

How to Help

View into one of the G3 bins that was placed during move-out this spring

View into one of the G3 bins that was placed during move-out this spring

Whether you can give your time, donate funds or food, or simply share information, there are many ways to support food banks in your community and around the country. See below some options to get involved and address food insecurity in the face of COVID-19.

  1. Check-in with your local food bank to see how they are addressing COVID-19
    1. Have they altered their donation instructions for food such as limiting donation times?
    2. Are they certain items they have a greater need for like pasta or other self-stable foods?
  2. Donate funds to allow food banks to purchase items
    1. Contact your local food bank to see if they are taking donations online, over the phone, or by check (online and over the phone are safest for social distancing)
    2. Feeding America has started a COVID-19 Response Fund that assists their 200 member food banks across the United States[1]
  3. Raise awareness of services to those you know
    1. Share information on social media about resources available to those who may need assistance with food
    2. Talk with your family and friends about the issue of food insecurity (i.e. what it is, who is affected, etc.)

Some Resources in the Bryan-College Station Area

Brazos Valley Food Bank

The Bridge Ministries Food Pantry

Brazos Church Pantry

Stay in Contact with Residence Life Sustainability

Email: sustainability@reslife.tamu.edu

Instagram: aggiesgoinggreen

Facebook: Aggies Going Green

Twitter: @TAMUResLife

Webpage: reslife.tamu.edu/living/sustainability

[1] https://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/press-room/feeding-america-establishes-covid-19-response-fund-help-food-banks-during