The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Sodexo provides food for local charities

Cecelia Glover | Sunday, October 9, 2011

Though most Saint Mary’s students turn to dining service Sodexo for their daily physical nourishment, the company also takes time to work with students to nourish the bodies of those less fortunate in the local South Bend community.

Sodexo makes a point of helping and encouraging students to reach out and support local and school-run charities, General Manager Barry Bowles said. Yet the community of Saint Mary’s students, not the company, powers much of this goodwill.

“Most of the time, it’s not Sodexo that gives to charities ⎯ it’s the students,” Bowles said. “For example, the students will give away a meal swipe to help raise money for starving children in Africa.”

Sodexo often has food left over that the staff would rather give to charities than throw away, he said. When students leave on holiday or when the food does not get eaten, Sodexo will transport it to local charities such as the homeless shelter in South Bend.

“Students come to me all the time, asking if I can help contribute food to their charity,” Bowles said. “Dance Marathon and Belles for Africa are two charities Sodexo supports.”

Sodexo contributes food to Dance Marathon, and oftentimes a large share of that food is leftover at the end of the night, Bowles said. In this case, Sodexo will pick-up the food and transport it to the homeless shelter as a donation in Dance Marathon’s name.

“The students do all the work. All we are doing is dropping the food off,” Bowles said. “Does Sodexo do a lot of work? Yes, but overall the students do the majority of work.”

Sodexo consistently contributes large donations to Red Cross, Hands Across America and other charities. However, Sodexo likes to support student efforts and student charities above anything else.

“How can we help students?” Bowles said. “What can we do to help their charitable givings? That is what Sodexo aims to do.”

Two times throughout the year, Sodexo donates a significant amount of food to the South Bend Center for the Homeless. These donations are given during fall break and winter break.

“When the students leave for break, the food just sits in the coolers and the perishable items go to waste,” he said. “To prevent this from happening over long breaks, we take the food and give it to people who are actually going to use it.”

The dining company may be a separate entity from the College, but Bowles said the group is considered part of the school.

“We have been here for 56 years,” Bowles said. “When we do things like this, we want it to be known that Saint Mary’s is the overall contributor to the community. In essence, it’s not really Sodexo. It’s Saint Mary’s and it’s the students.”