Dining funds may be given to food banks

A resolution, where students could donate extra money on their meal plan to buy food for a local food bank at the end of each semester, was passed Tuesday at the House of Students Representatives meeting.Justin Brown, Student Advocacy Committee chairman, said the program would allow students to purchase food items in bulk from Sodexho and donate them to the Tarrant Area Food Bank or an equivalent agency.

Alissa Garner, Dining Services Committee chairwoman, said students would pick an item based on the amount they wanted to donate. Items would be delivered to the food bank, and money would be subtracted from students’ accounts on a nightly basis.

Brown said for every dollar Tarrant County Area Food Bank receives, it can provide four and a half meals.

“A lot of students have $100 left over (on their meal plan),” he said. “They could feed a single mom and her family for months.”

The resolution states that giving students the option to purchase food donations fulfills the TCU mission statement which, “clearly supports and encourages ethical behavior and civic-minded individuals.”

Garner said money from meal plans has to be used for food and then donated because Sodexho has to make enough money to support its operating budget.

Brown said this program would have the same objective as Hunger Week, which is currently the only time students are permitted to donate money from their meal plans to charity. Hunger Week, which promotes awareness of world hunger problems, raised $23,000 last year.

Brown will now present the proposal to the university but said TCU creates its budget without overflow and therefore would not be affected if extra money from meal plans was donated. He said it is possible to have the program in place by the end of this semester.

Other resolutions concerning dining services created a consistent theme for the meeting.

Garner said the Dining Services Committee worked with Sodexho to change the price of vegetarian combination meals so they are equal to prices for combination meals with meat.

Sodexho also retrained employees last weekend so all employees are aware of food prices and charge students correctly, Garner said.