Soul Food-Giving to Those in Need

In the wake of climate change and it’s severity becoming increasingly debated and discussed, Greta Thunberg, an environmental activist who is only 17 years old, along with her accomplishments, has become a household name. Her speech given at the United Nations Climate Action Summit gathered thousands of people who showed up to cheer and support her, and many of my peers, in reaction to this, posted on their social media on how we need to take action concerning climate change. While this reposting helped create more awareness, how many of us actually do something to help the environment? How many of us properly sort our garbage into the right bins, turn the lights off, or not waste food? (I’ll admit that when I’m in a rush I don’t always sort my garbage). However, watching someone as young as Greta make such a huge difference really makes you wonder how much you could be doing to create change in the world.

 During the first week of school, I watched a student  stack a pile of rice Krispies on his plate. I’ve seen others not touch a plate of food they got because they don’t like how it tastes. At Queens University, first-year students have the freedom to eat whatever we want and however much we want without anyone telling us otherwise, and we are privileged to have access to an enormous quantity of food. We complain about how bad the food is, but truthfully, we are still being fed and we don’t have to cook or clean dishes so really, who are we to complain? As a first-year, we are basically given an all you can eat buffet, and we are extremely lucky to have an abundance of food; where in 2018, 815 million people in the world were starving (worldhunger.org). Researching these facts greatly upset me, and I was even more shocked to learn that 9.1 million people die of starvation each year (World Hunger Statistics), and roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption every year, which is approximately 1.3 billion tonnes gets lost or wasted (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations).

Ever Wonder Where All the Leftover Food from the Dining Halls Goes?

I had this question, and I never thought I would find the answer to it. However, when looking to join a club for second semester, I stumbled across Soul Food which is a club where every day a group of student volunteers collect leftover trays of food from dining halls (Ban, Lenny and the dining hall at west) and deliver those trays to a shelter. For example, I signed up for Monday shifts, so every Monday the group (me along with three others) go to Ban and collect leftover trays of food, and then one of our group members has a car so we put the leftover trays of food in her car and then she drives us all to the shelter where we deliver the food. Although the tasks at hand may be small, the significance is huge. We are giving back to our community by delivering food to those who need it and it feels satisfying knowing that I am helping those in need. 

Want to Become Involved?

Whether you decide to join Soul Food or other environmental clubs, it is important to recognize your consumption and carbon footprint. Basic needs such as food, water, and shelter should be a human right, not a privilege. If you, like myself, are passionate about the environment and want to get involved, here’s a few of my suggestions to get involved at Queens: