Editor, Daily Nexus,
We are writing to inform you of a situation that is happening on campus that has made us and many other students angry.
In January, a group of students started a homeless service program that uses sack lunches as the main resource for serving the homeless. Each Friday for the past six weeks this group has taken up donations in each of the on-campus dorms and collected the sack lunches that people get from the dining commons, which are distributed to the homeless of downtown Santa Barbara and Isla Vista. In these six weeks, students have responded by donating 393 lunches to people who have no home, no food and no one to let them know that people actually care about them. The students out of the free will of their heart gave up their own meals, which they had paid for.
Recently Dining Services has responded to this act of altruism by bringing it to a screeching halt. They have demanded that the project be stopped, saying that it is in violation of a contract that students signed saying that they will not give their meals away. They further explained that it is not in the best interest of students to allow this program to continue because it does not keep costs at a minimum or keep the “quality of food” at its premium; obviously Dining Services has not eaten at Ortega lately.
This program has provided a way for students to do something positive for our community and students have responded in a great way, averaging a donation of almost 66 lunches each week. As Dining Services cites money as an issue, we ask the questions: Did these students pay for these lunches that they choose to donate? How much food do the dining commons throw out each day? Will Dining Services be the ones to explain to these people who appreciate and need this food that they will no longer be receiving it?
We feel that this action requires explanation as to why Dining Services wants to take away a program that has had such a positive response and gives students an opportunity to give back to a community in need – an opportunity that students obviously take to heart and feel is a good program.