These 200 cases represent about half of the total donation of food for Rosie's Place, funded by BC Dining's collection effort. (Ricky Zhao)

At the end of every academic year, Boston College Dining Services provides students with an opportunity to donate some of their year-meal plan money to a charitable cause. In collaboration with the student group Every Bite Counts (eBC), volunteers from both groups staff collection tables on campus.

This year, BC Dining let students vote on which of five charities would receive the donation of food which is purchased with the raised funds. Rosie's Place in Boston, founded 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the United States, was selected. Its mission is to provide a safe, nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives.

“BC Dining loves being a part of Boston College," and embraces the University's Jesuit tradition of "men and women for others," said associate director of operations Megan O’Neill. “Our student body is passionate about service trips and helping others and our goal is to remind some that we have local folks, too, who need help. By letting students vote on which local charity they wanted to support, we thought this would make it more real than just handing over money.”

The food delivery—which comprised 370 cases with more than 17,000 individual items—was made in June, in trucks loaded by Corcoran Commons staff members and BC students.

L-R back row: Katie Amoro of Rosie’s Place with BC Dining staffers Gesnele Porcena, Chris Cutler, Albert Madera, Sharyl Thompson, Megan O'Neill, Sean Canny, BC student Katie Zona '21, and Rebecca Serio, Derrick Cripps. Front row: Sharon Briggs, Dekwaun Knight, Charlotte Stout, and Sara Burke of Rosie's Place. (Ricky Zhao)

“We typically have better buying power than shelters and charities, so we work with them on the items they need and purchase the food directly,” O’Neill explained.

“Bringing some of our team to Rosie's Place to help unload the truck, and see the food pantry and some clients who benefit from the help, was eye-opening and exhilarating, " she said. "Since the delivery happened after Commencement and many students were already home, we made a short video to show the appreciation from Rosie's staff.”

The video will be shown on the digital screens in dining halls when students return to campus, “so they can see what they did with their donation and how it helped so many local women less than 10 miles from our beautiful campus,” according to O’Neill.

The BC donation included such staples as peanut butter, cereals, canned tuna, beans, juices, applesauce, and other packaged fruits, soups, and pastas.

“We are grateful to everyone at Boston College for the generous donation of non-perishable food for the Rosie’s Place Food Pantry,” said Katie Amoro, a development officer at Rosie’s Place. “We were thrilled to receive the pallets of food for our guests—which equaled an amazing 17,000 individual items! With your help, we can provide 2,000 women a month with healthy, delicious and much-needed food for themselves and their families.”

Stacks of food delivery boxes for Rosie's Place

BC students are eager to help those who are less fortunate, O’Neill notes.

“Every year we gets lots of requests from students who want to buy food to give to a charity, and they are typically shocked to hear we do exactly that.  Half the time the students had donated to our charity point drive and had not even realized what we do. That's why this year we are trying to better publicize where the money went and how many individuals were helped.”

Rosie’s Place provides not only meals and shelter but also “creates answers for 12,000 women a year through wide-ranging support, housing, and education services. Rosie’s Place relies solely on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations and does not accept any city, state, or federal funding. Thanks to these donations, 85 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to services for poor and homeless women,” according to the organization's website.

BC Dining’s support of, and collaboration with, eBC has improved the use of excess food, increased sustainability, and curbed surplus food production, O'Neill said. The student volunteer group, whose mission is to combat hunger, was launched in 2005 by BC Dining Associate Director Michael Kann and then-freshman Molly Murphy. Over the years, eBC has worked to donate food to nonprofits in the Greater Boston area.

Rosanne Pellegrini | University Communications