OSU Students in Free Enterprise fight hunger

Student organization travels 6,489 miles to defeat child hunger through innovation

For some students, summer means swimming, vacations, and barbecues. For eight members of OSU Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), it meant a road trip: a road trip with a mission. They recently spent six weeks traversing the country and visiting 15 cities in an effort to combat food insecurity in children.

“The overall goal of the project while on the road was to explore innovative ways to end child hunger. The next step is to use those techniques locally,” says Sandy Neubaum, associate director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program and faculty adviser to SIFE.

Food insecurity – not having enough healthy food to thrive – affects 12.4 million children in the United States, a number that motivated the SIFE group to travel more than 6,000 miles to cities like San Francisco, Phoenix, Raleigh, and Boise to learn about programs that were particularly innovative.

Project Preserve in Nashville, Tenn., for example, caught junior business major Dale McCauley’s eye. “The Nashville project involved expired food that is flash-frozen and shipped across the nation,” he says. “It’s about how to get that food dispersed in a way that works better than the models that we’re used to. Maybe there is a better way than just tossing it all in a giant warehouse and having it distributed. We don’t know that yet, but we’re trying to find out.”

The team has already begun to think innovatively. In San Francisco, they rescued a van full of food left over from a conference they attended. “All we did was ask a simple question: ‘what are you doing with this at the end of the conference?’” says junior Andrea White, OSU SIFE president. After a phone call to the police department, they found the last food bank in San Francisco open, and donated it.

The SIFE team was inspired by President Obama’s goal to end child hunger in the United States by 2015. OSU SIFE researched innovative hunger initiatives and child hunger around the country seeking to start an innovative initiative here in Corvallis.

The trip was made possible through sponsorships from various corporations. The students contacted companies that supported other SIFE teams and received cash, food, and hotel room donations.

Recently back from their trip, the students will create a hunger campaign of their own to raise 55,000 pounds of food – a pound for every Corvallis resident.

“In the fall, we’re going to kick off the food drive. Everybody has been really excited that we want to raise 55,000 pounds of food,” says Andrea White, SIFE president. The SIFE team also looks forward to continue their hunger awareness campaign across Oregon during this summer.

The group plans to use some of the creative techniques they picked up on their trip to make their own food drive successful, like using what they learned to develop a curriculum they will teach to Corvallis middle schools.

7 Responses to “OSU Students in Free Enterprise fight hunger”

  1. sofie says:

    Recently at an OSU Bookstore event,I was appaled to see that the MU Catering Service dumped the leftovers into a trash can rather than give them to people to take home. Why do they waste such perfectly good food?

  2. Dave says:

    That’s a good point. The the need to raise awareness of hunger issues that our students are bringing nationwide is also a need that applies here at home.

  3. Don’t think that OSU scraps all their leftovers…I happen to know that the school donates some regular excess to local charity :)

  4. Johara Natasha Henriquez says:

    This is really a great job!! it will be nice to join to an amazing team like this!!

  5. Good JOB!

    What is the SIFE blog address, so those who are interested can stay tuned in to THIS project?


  6. Dave says:

    Hi there, the SIFE blog is at hungerinthehomeland.blogspot.com. Thanks for reading!

  7. Joan Gross says:

    I hope that you plan to link up with local efforts. The OSU Food Group, Ten Rivers Food Web, Ecumenical Ministries’ Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership, Linn Benton Food Share, local gleaning groups, food pantries, and meal programs are always looking for volunteers.