Food for hungry — delivered on bikes

OCC's Food Riders Club picks up food from around campus that would normally be thrown away and transports it via bike to be distributed.

October 03, 2012|By Britney Barnes
  • Food Riders co-advisor Carl Morgan collects frozen foods in Orange Coast College's cafeteria on Sept. 28.
Food Riders co-advisor Carl Morgan collects frozen foods… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Orange Coast College's mascot may be a pirate, but that doesn't mean pirates can't plunder for a good cause.

"We like to think that instead of a pirate's chest full of booty, it's a pirate's chest full of love," said Carl Morgan, co-advisor for the school's Food Riders.

OCC's Food Riders Club cycles around campus twice a week to pick up food that would normally be thrown away. Instead, members deliver it to organizations that feed Costa Mesa's homeless and hungry.

Now in its third year, the club meets Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons to take as much as 300 pounds of food on the six-mile round trip to two organizations, Share Our Selves and Lighthouse Church.

"I think it's a great way to give back to the community on so many different levels," said co-advisor Brian Burnett. "First of all, this is food that would normally be destined for a landfill, and we're able to give it to people that could benefit from it, and we're transporting it in the most environmentally friendly way possible, and it's a fun way to do it."


Last Friday, Food Riders met in front of the OCC library while they waited for campus food services to close at 2 p.m. Then, they rode.

They stopped at the Snack Shack, where they picked up whole wheat muffins and buns, veggie patties, pineapples and onions, before parking their bikes at the loading docks behind the cafeteria. Inside, they checked the bedroom-sized refrigerator and freezer, as well as the hot food line, to see what food was left for them.

Back on the loading dock, the riders sorted their loot into plastic container bins and coolers, packing away cooked carrots and rice; fruit, doughnuts and muffins; what looked like frozen pastries; and the jackpot — cooked chicken.

"It's a treat, and the homeless have very few of those," said Monique Burleigh, an administrator with Lighthouse Church.

Food Riders are given extra food, or food that won't be good by Monday, from the campus quick-eats spots, the cafeteria and even the culinary arts program.

The club saves an estimated 65% of food that would normally be thrown in trash cans, said Thomas Selzer, general manager of instructional food service operations.

"It's a win-win for everyone," said Selzer, who didn't hesitate when Food Riders came calling. "We'd like to get this stuff out and have it utilized."

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