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SAMRU and LeftOvers Calgary rescue food for the hungry

Over 40 kgs of packaged food donated thus far

Nearly half of the food produced worldwide is wasted — discarded during processing and transport, and thrown out at grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries and kitchens. According to a City of Calgary study published by Calgary Eats, there was $27 billion of food waste that found its way to landfills and composting bins in 2011; a staggering 40 per cent of all Canadian food produced that year.

LeftOvers Calgary, an organization that rescues would-be wasted food and ensures that it ends up in the hands of Calgarians in need has recently partnered with the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU). As of June 2016, SAMRU has contributed approximately 40 kg of packaged meals to LeftOvers Calgary’s initiatives through The Hub and internal catering events. 


Pierre, LeftOvers Calgary volunteer, picks up catering leftovers from Bailey Komperdo, SAMRU’s business services coordinator. This week’s leftovers will be delivered to Calgary Dream Centre, a local charity that helps individuals escape homelessness and addiction.

SAMRU is the first local post-secondary institution to partner with LeftOvers Calgary and take a part in its mission to combat hunger in Calgary.

The appetite to team up with LeftOvers came after an internal catering event was left with an abundance of leftovers. Garrett Hendricks, the food and beverage manager for SAMRU, took initiative. He packed them up and delivered them to the Calgary Drop-in Centre, who informed him of the service LeftOvers provides.

The process is simple. It begins with a phone call to LeftOvers Calgary, follows with a pick-up of the leftover food and ends with the full belly of someone in need. The time to contribute is minimal, and the effect is lasting.

“Sustainability is one of our core principles and that sort of responsibility means using our resources wisely,” says John Hadley, director of business and building services for SAMRU — stressing the importance of being responsible when it comes to food waste.

“We try not to have waste at all, and when we do, it’s better that it ends up in the hands of someone who can really use it.”

The impact of this partnership can help people in our community, on the most basic of levels, overcome their challenges and help them to succeed and thrive.

Paxton Bruce, research assistant for Mount Royal’s Centre for Child Well-Being of the Department of Child Studies and Social Work, affirms the importance of giving to organizations like LeftOvers Calgary, and the lasting effect it can have on children and families.

“A key component of LeftOvers Calgary is that they deliver to families and people in need,” says Bruce, “For a child, if they do not start their day with a healthy meal they are at risk of having difficulties interacting socially or emotionally regulating themselves, simply because their basic needs are not being met.”

Having limited or no access to food is a heavy burden for anyone. Since LeftOvers Calgary makes the donation process so simple, there is no substantial increase in cost or time for its partners to help put a meal on the table.

Supporting LeftOvers Calgary not only contributes to a neighbour's ability to tackle their day free of hunger, but it also eliminates food waste, challenging an issue seen locally, across the country and around the world.

SAMRU is proud to play a small part of a great, big initiative that aims to curb hunger and contributes to community sustainability, while achieving its vision of creating a space where students make a difference in the world.

Oct. 21, 2016 — Lauren Price