Sacred Heart University seniors Brandon Gilliam and David Dechent-Robertin are in the process of officially starting a nonprofit organization on campus called Greek Life Gives to address hunger in the area.
The pair was inspired by a French law that prohibits supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, instead requiring them to donate it to charities. Looking to inspire a similar system of giving on campus, Gilliam and Dechent-Robertin approached SHU Dining with their plan, who were more than happy to help.
“We knew a lot of food retail stores are encouraged to donate their leftover food at the end of the day, but don’t necessarily do so. This is often because it isn’t convenient for them at the end of their operating hours,” said Gilliam. “So, to make things easier on the food establishment, we decided to be the channel that would help get the unsold food items to shelters and people in need.”
The two seniors are members of the Omega Phi Kappa fraternity and used their connection to the Greek Life community to help their cause. They have enlisted members of other fraternities and sororities on campus to pick up leftover food at the participating site at the end of each day and deliver it to Prospect House in Bridgeport.
The volunteers make these trips Monday through Saturday. For students who do not have their own transportation to Prospect House, the University’s Campus Ministry department has provided a driver.
“Greek Life Gives encourages all students to get involved. If you’re on a team, if you’re in a club sport, if you’re just a student who wants to help, you can make a difference too,” said Dechent-Robertin.
Greek Life Gives has been operating successfully for the past nine months and has donated more than 500 pounds of food to Prospect House. Most recently, the co-founders have been working on making it an officially recognized, nonprofit organization. They are depending on donations to achieve this status.
Gilliam and Dechent-Robertin agree that finding more volunteers to continue Greek Life Gives after they have graduated is important to them and the progress of their organization. They plan on supervising and continuing their participation even after they have left SHU, and they hope to extend Greek Life Gives to other schools.