Food Recovery Network Partners with Warren Churches Association

Photo by Erika Proulx

By Rebecca Farias | Herald Contributor

The Roger Williams University chapter of the Food Recovery Network (FRN) and the Warren Churches Association (WCA) agreed to a new partnership on Monday, Sept. 25. With the help of Associate Professor of Biology Kerri Warren, members of FRN have been coordinating with the WCA since spring 2017 in the hopes of finalizing plans.

The student group, which is a campus chapter of the national Food Recovery Network organization, seeks to minimize food waste by repurposing unserved food from the campus dining hall to people experiencing food insecurity.

The WCA is composed of five churches in the Bristol-Warren community. Throughout the year, they work together to support around 12 senior citizens who depend on the Meals on Wheels program during the week. Every Saturday morning, church volunteers share in the purchasing, preparing, and delivering of food to the senior citizens in an effort to help them with meals for the weekend, when the Meals on Wheels program does not deliver.

Every first and third Friday night, FRN student volunteers will take food from the Baypoint dining hall to the church group, providing the food for that weekend. The partnership will begin on Oct. 6.

Despite adding on another night of recoveries, FRN will continue its two original partnerships with Lucy’s Hearth and McKinney Cooperative Shelter, both of which are shelters for people experiencing homelessness. In total, volunteer members of the student club will collectively recover food every single Monday through Thursday night, as well as every other Friday night.

“I’m really excited about this new partnership because it’s giving us a chance to make a difference right here in Bristol/Warren,” said senior Rachel Gliniecki, co-president of RWU’s chapter of FRN.

“By helping provide meals for Meals on Wheels recipients, we’re building a stronger connection in town, which is important because often the Bristol community can seem really separated from RWU,” Gliniecki said, noting that these senior citizens are just some of the food insecure individuals who aren’t living in a homeless shelter.

“The Warren Churches Association is very excited about this new partnership,” said Mark Devine, the leader of the WCA. “This will enhance our ability to provide food to senior citizens and others in our community who find it difficult preparing their own nutritious meals on the weekends.”

He added, “Working in partnership with the University in this way is a wonderful opportunity for both of our groups to serve this community we live in.”

Statistics taken from the organization’s Facebook page are certainly telling of its success:

“Since 2014, [the Food Recovery Network] has recovered and donated over 16,000 pounds of food and growing from Upper Commons and Baypoint.”

This new partnership is not only a step towards alleviating local hunger, but also toward fostering more positive relations with all levels of the nearby community.