Emory Students Donate Dining Dollars to Hunger Relief

At the start of the spring semester, Emory undergraduates Caroline Abbot and Crissy Hendrickson approached the Bon Appétit team with a solution to a common college conundrum: flex dining dollars (known at Emory as “Dooley Dollars”) left over at the end of the school year. Although some students enjoy spending their last Dooleys on cases of energy bars at the Eagle Convenience Store or underwriting their roommates’ daily latte habits, this group had a hunch that some of their classmates would rather donate theirs to a local cause.

Items collected during the Dooley Dollar Food Donation Drive get loaded onto the Atlanta Community Food Bank truck

Emory’s first Dooley Dollar Food Donation Drive was born. Students who wished to donate their Dooley Dollars could visit the Eagle Convenience Store during the last two weeks of classes to purchase food items prioritized by the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Bread Coffeehouse, Emory’s on-campus food shelf. The Bon Appétit convenience store team created a special display of items for donation, including peanut butter, whole-grain cereals, and canned fruits, vegetables, and tuna. Students selected items from the display, paid using their Dooley Dollars, and dropped the items off in the donation bins located inside the store.

Caroline and Crissy were instrumental in spreading the word via social media, an article in the student newspaper, and flyers and banners around campus. As finals approached, many students even came by to drop off unopened items they had in their dorm rooms.

According to the final donation tally, students spent $2,497 Dooley Dollars and purchased more than 600 items — including 119 jars of peanut butter, 162 boxes of cereal, and 103 cans of fruits and vegetables — for the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Bread Coffeehouse. “This project has been a great experience,” Caroline told her Bon Appétit collaborators. “It’s been fantastic to work with you and the rest of Emory Dining. We truly appreciate your flexibility and eagerness.” The Bon Appétit team looks forward to partnering on the program again next year and making an even bigger impact on hunger in Atlanta.

Submitted by Alyse Festenstein, Manager of Community Partnerships