Orange Coast College Food Service program donates unused food to families in need

Coast faculty and volunteers have packaged more than 1,100 meals to be donated to local families in need. Courtesy photo.

Since the announcement that Orange Coast College’s physical campus would be closed until at least the end of March, Coast faculty and volunteers have packaged more than 1,100 meals to be donated to local families in need, as well as Costa Mesa homeless shelters and assisted living facilities.

With the unexpected closure of campus on Sunday, March 15, OCC’s food services program was left with more than 1,800 lbs of unused food that would normally be used in its on-campus dining facilities and culinary arts instructional programs.

Fortunately, instructor Alexandra Yates had the perfect solution already in place: OCC’s Food Recovery Kitchen. Created more than a year ago as part of the College’s Food Services program, the Recovery Kitchen was initially started with the goal of reducing food insecurity among OCC’s student population. “Our main purpose is to lower our campus’s food waste and food insecurity among out students,” says Yates. “We partner with Pirate’s Cove [food pantry] on campus, along with the support from the Culinary Arts Program, Cafeteria Services, Nutrition and Dietetics, Horticulture and other programs.”

Since OCC’s campus is closed, Yates and her team of volunteers have moved to kitchen facilities at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin. Yates, who serves on the advisory board for Waste Not OC, has also enlisted the support from local venues that have leftover unused food, such as the Brea Improv Club and White House Catering.

For updates, follow Yates on Instagram at www.instagram.com/occ_food_recovery

This article was released by Orange Coast College.