College students launch project to reduce food waste and feed hungry families

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Many can still vividly recall images of crops rotting in the field and milk being dumped when schools and restaurants were forced to close in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Some college students want to make sure we never see that again.

Vernie Jackson was not in line at a food pantry last Thanksgiving — but he’s since fallen on hard times. 

“I lost people in the pandemic, and then I lost my job in the pandemic,” Jackson said. “So right now, you know, I’m just praying to the Lord.”

Jack Rehnborg is a junior at Stanford University. He is among a group of college students who co-founded the FarmLink Project after being stunned by images of produce rotting on farms during the pandemic.

“This is absurd for the wealthiest country in the world to have all this food going to waste and all these people that are hungry,” he told CBS News. “It’s a problem that about 20 billion pounds of food is wasted.”

The FarmLink Project collects food from the fields and delivers it to pantries running on empty. 

“So it’s been big and huge, and we’re really thankful for them,” event coordinator Kenneth Marshall said.

They’ve served more than 18 million meals since the spring, and this Thanksgiving week they’re handing out one million meals across the country.

“We’re gonna try and keep doing deliveries across the country, you know, keep food moving,” Rehnborg said.

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



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