Winter food need


Volunteers prepare donated food at the Warming Center Photo by Kat Torreano

Sophie Hillmeyer

Marquette’s Warming Center is a free place for the homeless community to shower, gather, chat with friends and enjoy breakfast and lunch after the Room at the Inn, Marquette’s overnight shelter, closes at 6 a.m. The Warming Center relies on volunteer efforts and donations from the community.

“[The Warming Center] is a community-wide effort and we are lucky to live in such a generous place,” Room at the Inn Executive Director
Douglas Russell said.

The Warming Center receives donations from a number of grocery stores in town as well as donations from community members and NMU’s Food Recovery Network (FRN), a national organization dedicated to reducing food waste on
college campuses.

NMU FRN President Joe Dodd, senior environmental studies and sustainability major, said the NMU FRN is the
first official chapter in the U.P. with the goal of reducing waste and hunger by recovering excess perishable food and donating it to community members in need. FRN typically brings uneaten food from dining halls to the Warming Center once a week and has the partnership with the Warming Center for around
two years.

“Help from FRN has been an incredible blessing for
us,” Russell said. “We are really aware of all the food that doesn’t get used and we are happy it is then eaten, enjoyed and appreciated
[at the Warming Center].”

The Warming Center serves 10 meals per week and up to 35 people per meal totaling about 2,000 meals each month, Russell said. The donations from the FRN cover about 20 percent of the food served each week at
the Warming Center, he said.

“We formed a relationship the minute they stepped in the door,” Russell said. “I had researched food recovery around the world and had no idea they were doing it on campus and I was very excited when they approached us.”

The FRN donations
allow the Warming Center to share extra donations with other food providing organizations in town such as Harbor House, Russell said.

“We have a simple mission of providing food and shelter, and support of the Food Recovery Network guards us the sense of security for all the months of the year when school is in session,” Russel said.

“We are able to serve good
meals every single day.”