31,920 meals served to Columbia, SC homeless
Carolina Dining/Sodexo is fighting hunger in here in the midlands of South Carolina. The Second Servings program currently supplies meals three times a week to six homeless shelters. In 2010/11, Second Servings currently provides nearly 31,920 meals to the homeless during the academic year.
Second Servings sprung from observation. During the first semester of his freshmen year, Chase Mizzell, the current Student Government Vice President, saw an opportunity to provide overproduced food from the on-campus restaurants to the homeless. Chase, under the tutorage of Sodexo Operations Director, Mike Gwiazdowski, researched SC law, initiated dialogue with health officials, identified homeless shelters to match product quantities, and then drew out and implemented a food donation program and called it Second Servings.
Working with Sodexo to build a solid foundation for Second Servings, Chase instigated direct communication between the unit and the shelter. This communication is quintessential to its survival. He has formulated a structure where each donating unit has a "champion" who is the liaison with the homeless center it serves.
Chase took it a step further by ensuring sustainability on the shelter side by working with the non-profit agencies to place the donations as a seasonal budget item (when school is in session). He stressed that while the program could not be used to replace a line item in the budget, it could allow the meal budget line to be reduced and those funds dedicated to other areas of the shelter.