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Friday September 30th

Greeks reduce waste, give to the poor with GoMeals! program

	<p>Courtesy of Matt Meyers</p>
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Courtesy of Matt Meyers

When Caroline Barber first arrived at UNC, she was looking for an opportunity to explore her passion for working with the homeless population — and she found her outlet for it with GoMeals!

Volunteers from the GoMeals! program collect the leftover food from local fraternities and sororities and donate them to the Inter-Faith Council’s Community Kitchen.

The IFC works to feed hungry members of the community, in addition to providing shelter and information for people in need.

The program was started by Alpha Tau Omega fraternity member Matt Meyers two years ago when he was a sophomore.

“It’s such a simple concept, I’m surprised nobody ever thought of it before,” Barber said. She is currenty the program’s secretary.

“It’s just an hour out of night and you’re doing something great.”

Volunteers meet three times a week Monday through Wednesday to collect whatever food is leftover from 22 fraternity and sorority houses at the University.

The food given to the program is taken directly to the council.

“It provides a very easy way for anyone that wants to give back to the community and do it in one night,” said Meyers, the program’s president.

“Not only are you reducing food waste, but you’re giving this food to people that actually want it and need it.”

The IFC provides about 80,000 free meals per year to hungry members of the community, according to the council’s website. Almost all of the food donated to the council comes from local restaurants, campus groups, businesses and congregations.

The amount of food collected by GoMeals! varies from week to week.

“The amount we get fluctuates a lot based on volunteer turnout,” said UNC junior Drew Winters, a member of ATO and GoMeals! volunteer.

“On a good night we get about 35 to 40 meals.”

But Meyers said he thinks some of the food at the fraternities and sororities is still wasted.

“I have no doubt in my mind that a lot of it is still thrown away,” Meyers said.

He said the program has been met with positive reaction from people in the council.

“The homeless shelter seems to appreciate it when we bring it in,” Meyers said.

“They always say ‘you’re doing a good thing.’”

Some of the volunteers in the program want to become more involved and expand its role working with the IFC next year, Winters said.

“One of our ideas for expansion is to actually go once a month and serve the food,” he said.

Going to the IFC would require more dedication from the GoMeals! volunteers because the council requires its people to go through training before serving food.

“It doesn’t take much time,” Barber said. “It’s fun and everyone benefits.”

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