Making a difference can be simple. As simple as bagging up food and driving it a few miles. Aditya (Adi) Singh, a master’s student in hospitality and tourism management (HTM) in the Oklahoma State University College of Human Sciences, has been doing just that. Singh started an initiative to donate food from Taylor’s restaurant in the college to Mission of Hope, a local homeless shelter.
This initiative was born out of one of Singh’s research interests: food waste. As Singh got involved in HTM, he took a class in Taylor’s and recognized the opportunity to donate the food to Mission of Hope.
Taylor’s is HTM’s learning lab restaurant, located in the new wing of the College of Human Sciences building. Three days a week, students work both the front and back of the house learning about the daily operations of a restaurant, preparing a lunch buffet, and providing service. The unserved food is collected each Friday and taken to Mission of Hope.
Singh reached out to a contact at Mission of Hope and with the support of HTM faculty and staff, including Chef Mark Cochran and Silvio Cheschini, who run the restaurant, he began to take the food to Mission of Hope each week during the fall semester.
“Everyone has been very supportive. Students are more than happy to lend a hand in packing the food and making sure everything is ready and in place,” Singh said.
The Human Sciences Graduate Student Association has recently expressed an interest in participating, helping to make the practice of donating food more sustainable. “It’s not contingent on any one person…the idea is to make this effort sustainable,” Singh said.
Taylor’s prepares different international foods each week, and the variety of foods has been well received, according to Singh. People come out to help unload the food and are grateful for the donation. The food, on average, feeds 10-15 people. The students plan to continue the project next semester and even after Singh has graduated.