The University of Notre Dame has reached a major milestone in its relationship with nonprofit Cultivate Food Rescue. The university says it has donated more than 102,000 pounds of food to the rescue organization since 2017. The university donates the food from dining, athletics and special events.
The equivalent is 82,097 meals, with an estimated tax value of more than $374,000.
“In the U.S., food waste is estimated at between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply,” said Carol Mullaney, senior director of sustainability at Notre Dame. “At Notre Dame, we are committed to tackling this problem, first through source reduction and, secondly, by getting consumable food to people who need it. Cultivate has been an invaluable partner to enable us to provide meals to those in need in our community.”
The nonprofit offers free frozen meals to elementary age kids in an insulated backpack program that delivered 2,400 meals per week to children in Elkhart, St. Joseph and Marshall counties during the school year, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has since delivered 86,000 meals to K-12 students via school meal programs, along with 19,000 to local veterans, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Marshall county Council on Aging and COVID-positive residents.
Notre Dame is the largest donor to Cultivate, accounting for almost 20% of all food donated to the organization since 2017.