Hunger and Health Coalition partnership helps App State reach sustainability goals


The Hunger and Health Coalition’s bus parked outside of Roess Dining Hall.

Rachel Greenland, Reporter

At first mention of App State’s connection with the Hunger and Health Coalition, program coordinator Terri Niederhammer’s voice raised an octave and overflowed with excitement.

“In 2017, we received 43,916 meals in donations. Without our collaboration with ASU, that would be almost 13,000 meals a year we were without,” Niederhammer said.

App State has a long-standing connection with, and has become a major resource of food for, HHC. HHC is one of Boone’s first local food banks where clients pay nothing for the food and support they receive.

The university partners across several departments and organizations to provide food for the community outside of its student population. Niederhammer listed university partnerships with Food Services, Appalachian Student Ambassadors, the athletic department and the nutrition and foods program.

“Food that we cannot reuse or repurpose for safety reasons, for sustainability reasons, we give to HHC,” Stephanie Lee, communications specialist for Food Services, said. “They then take their own safety precautions and distribute the food in a to-go meal.”

This partnership works toward Food Services’ and HHC’s common goal of sustainability.

“It is diverting waste from our waste stream, and it is repurposing products that we have that we can no longer use in a way that is going to help other people,” Lee said.

According to Charlie Wallin, who worked for Food Services when the partnership began in March 2005, over 160,000 meals have been donated to HHC since its beginnings.

In addition to partnerships with local grocery stores, restaurants and Food Services to reduce the amount of food in the landfill and to provide healthy, nutritious food to the High Country, HHC is App State athletics’ adopted charity, Niederhammer said.

During football games and other athletic events, HHC sets up boxes to collect non-perishable food items for its food bank.

Since last fall, nutrition and foods program students have come every week with their own items to cook meals from scratch, Niederhamer said. They package the food in individual meals and give it to HHC’s clients.

“This gives our clients fresh, healthy food and helps the students learn to produce meals in large quantities,” Niederhammer said.

The Appalachian Student Ambassadors have collected food for HHC’s pantry as part of its 20th Annual Canned Food Drive since Oct. 15. Ambassadors will be stationed in the Plemmons Student Union and Trivette Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day until Oct. 21.

Niederhammer said HHC is always accepting student volunteers to help package meals and snack bags. HHC is located at 141 Health Center Drive, Suite C, Boone, NC 28607.

Story by Rachel Greenland 

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Lee

Featured photo caption: The Hunger and Health Coalition’s bus parked outside of Roess Dining Hall.