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24 tons and what do you get?

24 tons and what do you get?

Thomas M. Columbus July 20, 2022

In the beginning, it was small. 

In the late 1980s, students (in what is now UD’s Summer Appalachia Program) and Sister Nancy Bramlage, S.C., collected food that students on campus were going to throw out at the end of the year. They took it with them to Salyersville, Kentucky, to lower their grocery bill.

Students, faculty and staff sort leftover food and goods from move-out.
Sorting food (from left) are Brother Tom Pieper, S.M. ’67; Corinne Woodruff Horner ’19, graduate assistant; and Ellie Worpenberg ’23, student volunteer — all of Campus Ministry.


Eventually, they collected more than they needed. So they gave it to those who needed it. Then students leaving for the summer began to leave clothing in the food collection containers. So clothing began to make its way to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Then household goods …

And the program grew and grew.

Now Campus Ministry’s Center for Social Concern, Facilities Management, the Hanley Sustainability Institute and Residential Properties (coordinated by Samantha Kennedy, Leah Ceperley and Marigrace Moses) partner on this widespread program with students, employees, staff and volunteers all working together.

Goodwill trucks fill with material. Bins appear across campus. Collected materials head to a meeting room in Virginia W. Kettering Residence Hall to be sorted. Students load tons of material onto St. Vincent de Paul trucks. Food that can’t be donated is composted.

Before the pandemic interrupted, the amount of food, clothing, cleaning supplies and household furnishings collected, diverted from landfills and put to use totaled 14 tons.

This spring an intensified coordination coupled with advertising to promote and staff the effort resulted in a new record collection — 24 tons.

Landfills were denied 48,000 pounds of useful material by people working together and caring for their brothers and sisters.

"Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you … or naked and clothe you? … Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." —Matthew 25: 37-40


A dumpster-diving prof