‘It’s the least we can do’: Duke launches initiative to donate student food waste to Durham homeless shelters

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Duke administration recently announced its new initiative, “Homeless but not Hungry,” which will work to address local food insecurity by donating student food waste to nearby homeless shelters. 

“Duke is launching what I hope will become one of our signature programs,” said President Fincent Spice. “It’s about time we did our part to help the common man. If they didn’t like us before, I’m sure they will now. ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ and all that.” 

The initiative, which took effect Sunday, works to collect food scraps from the conveyor belts in the Marketplace and Brodhead Center dining halls, rolling them in garbage bins to one of three nearby homeless shelter locations.

Given the program’s success, Spice shared hopes to expand the service to more locations. 

“Frankly, I’m surprised we didn’t think of this sooner. It’s a great idea, and it’s the least we can do to help our dear neighbors of Durham,” Spice said. “If you think about it, each dumpster is sort of like a really big and diverse Chipotle bowl. My grandson tells me that the poor folk love Chipotle nowadays.”

While the program’s announcement was largely met with positive student responses, a few students voiced concerns. 

Broak Betch, president of student leadership for Feed Every Devil, highlighted existing issues with food insecurity on Duke’s campus. 

“I think it’s great to support our community, and the intentions are certainly here, but we have many students on campus who can’t afford sufficient meal plans. What about them?” Betch asked. “Duke should first prioritize students in need before helping others.”

In a response issued by Duke Dining, Director of Dining Services Bourgeoisie Boyardee criticized the lifestyles of students who consume more than what is allotted by their meal plan.

“While I appreciate the sentiment, Duke Dining doesn’t support the lifestyles of students who wish to eat beyond their limits,” Boyardee wrote. “While that is their choice, we find it unhealthy. Maybe it’s time for those students to start living a little better, having fewer ‘sweet treats’?”

The new initiative shocked some of Durham’s homeless residents, like Bill DaHouse.

“I’m excited to hear that Duke is finally doing something that helps people beyond campus limits. I’ll have to try [the new program] out,” DaHouse said. “Hopefully this amounts to more than just an elitist and performative charade inserting the University into Durham affairs.” 

To ensure quality service, Duke also announced a Mystery Diner Program that will accompany the “Homeless but not Hungry” initiative. Several times a week, students will have the chance to cosplay as low-income Durham residents and leave reviews of their experiences. 

Editor's Note: Happy April Fools' Day! In case you couldn't tell, this was a story for our satirical edition, The Chomicle. Check out more Chomicle stories here, guaranteed to make you laugh, or at least cry. 


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