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PA Rep. O’Mara and Cabrini Students Participate in Food Recovery Program

Posted on 4/29/2021 3:51:07 PM

PA State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara joined students on Monday, April 26 to participate in a food recovery program on campus created by Campus Ministry and supported by the Wolfington Center through the Pierce Fellows Program. Funded by a 2021 Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation Youth Grant, the project—named “Are You Eating That?”—provides leftover food from Dining Services to the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center (CHOC) in Montgomery County, PA.

PA Rep Jennifer O'Mara with students Evarlyne Ndeti and Ixchele Ortiz at the food recovery program

O’Mara, who is involved in legislative efforts to address hunger on campuses, worked alongside students to pack 55 meals for delivery to CHOC, the county’s only year-round, 24/7, emergency housing service for single adults experiencing homelessness.

“Families are struggling, students are struggling, and, of course, our homeless population is struggling,” O’Mara said.

Pierce Fellow Ixchele Ortiz (’22) organized the program, which has brought together volunteers to package food since March 8 and will continue through the first week of May. Students deliver the meals to CHOC within 24 hours of assembly. She said her involvement in Are You Eating That? has “really impacted how I view how much I eat” and made her realize how lucky she is to have enough food.

“Once you know what it feels like to be [hungry], you have that in mind for all time,” said Ortiz.

The desire of Evarlyne Ndeti (’21) to help others by reducing hunger in the local community prompted her to apply for the Sodexo grant at Cabrini. She said she “appreciates the fact that we are saving food to go to be used in a good way.”

Cabrini’s food recovery project helps divert food from landfills while providing much-needed support to food-insecure individuals and their families.

“Helping others is one way of showing love,” said Ndeti, a Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC) candidate. “You will never meet these people, but this little thing you do is expressing your love for them.”