David Foster, Contributing Photographer

As the fall semester draws to a close, Yale students and New Haven residents have collaborated to organize a food drive to reduce food waste and provide meals to a local soup kitchen.

The food drive, which will take place from Dec. 13-22, is organized by David Foster ’24 and Nicholas Perez ’24. The project enlisted the guidance and participation of various on-campus groups and community partners including Dwight Hall, the Slifka Center, the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Activism Project, the Yale Office of Sustainability, the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen and Yale’s residential colleges.

“I think that as Yale students, we occupy a lot of space, money, convenience, and time in the larger New Haven community,” Perez wrote to the News. “Truly understanding our place in this community means doing whatever we can to meaningfully reckon with our privilege and give back to a community that we benefit so much from.”

Building off of past food drive initiatives that both co-organizers have worked on, Foster and Perez drew support from various organizations at Yale to amass a collection of nonperishable foods. The organizers emphasized the significance of the help they received from the Slifka Center, which supported them in acquiring the bins necessary for collecting and transporting food donations, as well as YHHAP, which in addition to conducting past food drives, aided in matters of outreach, community connections and volunteer networking. 

In preparation for the food drive, organizers enlisted volunteers from each residential college to carry out the collection stage of the food drive. These volunteers will set out collection bins in their residential colleges starting on Dec. 13 and maintain them throughout the week. At the conclusion of the drive on Dec. 22, volunteers will work with DESK to transport the proceeds of the drive to their central location in New Haven for sorting, and shortly after they will be distributed to residents of the local community. 

“By increasing local food donations and providing students with opportunities to conveniently dispose of uneaten food, the drive plays a small role in creating an opportunity for symbiosis between the Yale and New Haven communities, but it is truly just the start,” Ramsay Goyal ’24, a Morse College volunteer for the food drive, wrote to the News.

When asked why he got involved in this project, Foster acknowledged the privileges that come along with being a Yale student.

“The reason I started doing this work and continue to is that there is great need and there is great opportunity,” Foster said. “There is a great need in the community, and there is great opportunity here at Yale. We are so privileged and lucky to have all the resources we do and that we have the opportunity to do something good.”

The co-organizers of the food drive also collaborated with Maria Gutiérrez, the sustainability engagement manager for the Yale Office of Sustainability. Perez and Foster were able to connect with residential college sustainability liaisons, heads of colleges and operations managers through the Office of Sustainability, which will help facilitate the drives in the residential colleges.

Gutiérrez wrote in a statement to the News that this food drive aligns with Yale’s sustainability initiatives.

“The end-of-semester food drive supports a variety of Yale’s sustainability objectives and goals, which include creating strategic partnerships with local organizations, avoiding unnecessary food waste, and ensuring that Yale College students have the opportunity to engage in initiatives that have a social and environmental impact in New Haven,” Gutiérrez wrote.

The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, where all of the food from the drive will go, is located at 311 Temple St.

Gavin Guerrette covers faculty scholarship & breakthroughs. He is a freshman in Branford College majoring in Humanities.