YCC resolves to divert leftovers to homeless

Some parents tell their children to finish their dinners because there are people starving in Africa. The Yale College Council will soon be putting a new spin on the old line with the creation of the Bringing Relief Every Day program, or BRED. The program will divert leftover food in the dining halls from the sewage systems to the inhabitants of Tent City, the outdoor interim shelter substitute on New Haven Green.

On Wednesday, the YCC passed a dining hall waste resolution authored by Leila Rastegar ’05. The program is intended to remind students that the large amount of tray waste generated every day could feed many homeless people in New Haven. The organization born from the resolution will also encourage students to be wary of creating tray waste.

Rastegar said she got the idea one night at dinner when she saw the dining hall staff getting rid of a large amount of leftover food. Later that night, she saw a man begging for quarters so he could buy something to eat.

“I just kind of put two and two together,” Rastegar said.

Not only the community will benefit from BRED, Rastegar said. The environment was also a concern.

“Yale doesn’t employ any kind of composting service,” Rastegar said. “We just basically flush [waste] through the sewage systems.”

Yale used to donate food waste from Commons to a local pig farmer but stopped because of a dispute between the farmer and dining hall workers.

YCC President Andrew Allison ’03 agreed that BRED was a necessary addition to New Haven, particularly since the close of the homeless shelter.

“It’s very timely,” Allison said. “The sooner it gets started, the better.”

One day each week, the food pickup will be donated to the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project pantry, and another night’s pickup will go to the Harmony Place Community Center. The pickup locations for the other five nights are as yet undetermined, but the target mouths will be those belonging to Tent City inhabitants.

Though Allison said BRED is not a permanent arm of the YCC, the YCC will act as an advocate and sponsor of BRED, assuming responsibility for any and all startup funds for the organization. YHHAP has already incorporated BRED into its own organization.

“Leila came to us because we could give her rapid support,” Allison said.

Rastegar said she talked to all levels of administration and dining hall staff at every college, as well as YHHAP and the Yale Student Environmental Coalition.

While the organization’s efforts will start small, limited to the renovated colleges — Berkeley, Branford, Saybrook and Timothy Dwight — Rastegar said she has already received interested e-mails from the professional schools.

“It has to be successful from the get-go,” Rastegar said.

The first meeting of BRED will be held today at 4 p.m. in Branford College dining hall.

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