HARTSVLLE, S.C. - Senior men's lacrosse player Cole Theodoropoulos is leaving his mark not only on Coker's Campus, but in the City of Hartsville. Theodoropoulos has been working with Coker College Dining Services and Sodexo to re-establish Coker's chapter with the National Food Recovery Network. This is a program that works to fight food waste and feed those in need through food recovery. The excess food is donated to registered non-profit organizations. For his efforts, Theodoropoulos was honored as the March Sodexo Experience Area Winner.
"Mr. [Rick] Gant and I saw an opportunity to utilize our food waste in a positive way and help empower the community," said Theodoropoulos. "Through the food recovery network we were able to become part of a national organization with the goal of using food that would be wasted to aid the community."
In his efforts, Theodoropoulos has not only helped re-establish the chapter, but he went out and rebuilt relationships with those at the soup kitchen and brought on his teammates to volunteer with the chapter. Dining Services has been trying to get Coker's chapter back up and running for the past two years and Theodoropoulos decided to step in and lend a helping hand. His hard work and dedication led Coker to becoming Food Recovery Network verified. Coker College is now one of the few schools in the area to become members of the network and join the ranks of USC-Columbia, USC-Upstate, Coastal Carolina and Clemson.
This is a great accomplishment for Coker College and Theodoropoulos. Coker is one of the only small private colleges in South Carolina to become Food Recovery Network Verified. Rick Gant, General Manager of Coker College Dining Services, is thankful for the help of Theodoropoulos and the members of the men's lacrosse team for all of their help in making this possible as they continue to make a difference in the Hartsville community.
"Our goal is to not only help with hunger relief in the community, but to stay committed to reducing the large volume of food waste," stated Gant. About one-third of food in the industry ends up in the landfill. Many thanks to Cole and members of the men's lacrosse team for all of their help in making this possible."
Coker's excess food is donated to Wesley United Methodist Church.
About the Food Recovery Network
Food Recovery Network is the largest student movement against food waste and hunger in America.
In 2011, Ben, Mia, Cam, and Evan, students at the University of Maryland, College Park noticed good dining hall food ending up in the trash at the end of the night. By the end of the school year, FRN at UMD had recovered 30,000 meals to DC-area hunger-fighting nonprofits.
During the Spring 2012 semester, the second FRN chapter was founded at Brown University, and the two schools joined forces with two other campus food recovery programs at University of California, Berkeley and Pomona College.
In May 2013, the Sodexo Foundation provided FRN with founding funding to hire a full-time staff and transition into a professional nonprofit! Since then, they've swept the nation and made higher education the first sector where food recovery is the norm and not the exception.