Doug Curtin ’17 has found a creative and humanitarian use for the
College’s surplus food. Together with Trinity’s swimming and diving team
and in conjunction with the Mather Dining Hall staff, Curtin has championed
the cause of delivering Mather’s extra food to the McKinney Shelter, a men’s
homeless shelter not far from campus. In the first two weeks of the program,
dubbed the Trinity College Food Recovery Network, more than 300 pounds of
food were donated.
The genesis of Curtin’s philanthropy was an acquaintance he met
while working as an intern at the State Capitol—a homeless man named Jake
who had been begging in the area. The two became friends after Curtin started
bringing him food, and from Jake, Curtin learned about the plight of the homeless.
Curtin explained in an interview with The Trinity Tripod, Trinity’s student newspaper, that he began his initiative by contacting
the Food Recovery Network, a national effort on college campuses that works to ensure that food that would normally be thrown out is donated.
He then began the process of bringing the Network to Trinity. Curtin first outlined how the program would function at Trinity. He stepped into the position
of founder and got the swim team’s support. Then he got Trinity’s dining staff on board and contacted Chartwells, the company
that provides most of Trinity’s food. Finally, Chartwells Manager Toby Chenette gave his approval.
Trinity’s program is still in its developmental stage but has gained traction. The Student Government
Association heard a presentation from Curtin, and some organizations have expressed an interest in helping. Successful
fundraising in the fall facilitated the purchase of large reusable containers that have now been implemented in the process,
replacing the tinfoil trays. The purchase allowed the program to further their mission of sustainability by no longer using
Curtin’s activism is making inroads at Trinity and doing a tangible good for the city of Hartford. “It’s a good
opportunity to get to know the challenges that people face in our city – walking into the shelter on a Friday night, you see
a lot of different faces,” Curtin said. Curtin and two other leaders of the program, Tristan McConnell ‘18 and Hunter
Mitchell-Adams ‘18, will be attending a National Food Recovery Conference in Maryland in April. The conference will
include notable keynote speakers from the food waste and sustainability world. Curtin shared, “We are excited to further
our understanding of ways to help fight waste and feed people.”