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Two Freshmen Want to Change the Way LVC Thinks About Food
05.06.14 |
Lebanon Valley College freshmen Corey Kuchinsky and Zach Kirby astounded many with a project they took on in their First Year Seminar on Food and Philosophy, which considered food in a physical, emotional, and aesthetic sense.
“We looked at everything we ate on a daily basis but in a much larger picture,” says Kirby. At the end of the semester, the class was assigned to choose between a final paper and a project. Choosing to take the more hands-on route, Kuchinsky and Kirby decided to work on an idea inspired by the Engage, Analyze, Transform student research group, also known as E.A.T. They wanted to donate unused food from the cafeteria to local shelters. However, this project was going to take a lot of work and they didn’t have any guidance for its implementation.

To start their journey, Kuchinsky and Kirby worked together to write a three-page essay on the principle of what they were doing, as well as the goal they had in mind, all while focusing on a larger point of food security in the area. Their professor, Dr. Bob Valgenti, was eager to approve their project. “I think their project is a great one because it provides a service to people who are in need, it reduces the waste produced at the College, and it is a project in which others can easily participate,” says Valgenti.

They developed a list of six places where they could begin making deliveries and narrowed it down to one, Palmyra Area Cooperating Churches Caring Cupboard. The Caring Cupboard in Palmyra provides hot meals on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and they serve about 130 families per week.

Together, the duo coordinated with Metz Culinary Management and the LVC Office of Community Service to organize volunteer groups to deliver the leftover food. The first drop off took place on January 22 and delivered a total of 57 pounds of food.
With each delivery, they try to form a complete meal, such as meat, vegetables, and some kind of starch. “Once, we took around 20 pounds of pierogi casserole,” says Kuchinsky.

When they first started making deliveries, the students would load up Kuchinsky’s car with trays of food they had packed into boxes. The two would drive to The Caring Cupboard, unload the car, and drive back. It was a lot of work for two busy students, and they were thrilled to accept offers from other students and organizations to help with the deliveries. Tau Kappa Epsilon and Phi Sigma Sigma are two of the groups that have signed up to donate their time to aid with the delivery process. “This helps us to become less involved with the delivery aspect and also helps to perpetuate the program after our graduation,” added Kuchinsky.

Now, the students are providing 30 to 40 pounds of food per delivery. They have delivered more than 200 pounds of food in the last month. Currently, they deliver every Monday and Wednesday. The goal is to eventually expand the whole idea into something even greater. “All this food used to be thrown away, but now we’re trying to turn this system into the new norm,” says Kirby.

“I feel extremely accomplished to have started a student led project to promote the general welfare in the area,” says Kuchinsky. “I would have never imagined my first semester of college at LVC to be filled with such opportunity. “ He goes on to say none of this would have been possible without Professor Valgenti’s guidance, his partner Zach, Metz, and LVC, for providing anyone the opportunity to make a difference if they provide the initiative.

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