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Student creates program to share leftover food with nonprofit

Taste BudsMilenko Fadic creates program to share leftover food with nonprofit

Every Friday afternoon Queens senior Milenko Fadic pulls his minivan up to the loading dock behind the Frances Young Dining Hall. A few minutes later he walks back down the ramp pushing a cart loaded with stacks of aluminum containers filled with frozen food.

He collects the food every week and drive it the Salvation Army Center for Hope for families in crisis to enjoy.  The project - dubbed "Taste Buds," - has saved more than 1,200 pounds of leftover food from being thrown away since January. He says Chartwells, the food service vendor at Queens, has been tremendously supportive, sharing the food at no cost and donating employees' time to ensure the food is saved and properly packaged.

"This is a great partnership and I'm grateful for their support," says Fadic, a senior from Ecuador who is majoring in business administration.

In the fall, Fadic says, students in the Homeless Advocacy Club at Queens will begin helping with the weekly delivery.

On one recent week Chartwells saved 15 large trays of taco shells and meat, beef stew, pork loin, roast beef, cookies and danishes. That one load provided 120 pounds of food - enough to feed more than 100 people - for The Salvation Army.

Center for Hope officials say they have saved more than $4,000 in food costs since Fadic's project started in January. That money can now be used to help the families they serve in other ways.

And Fadic isn't stopping there. He's contacting officials at other schools across the Charlotte region to tell them about Taste Buds and encourage them to start their own programs.

"It's so easy to do this, really," he says. "It just takes someone to recognize there's an opportunity and to be responsible for seeing it through. It gives me peace of mind to know that food that otherwise would've been thrown out will help people. Serving others is what it's all about."

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