Six students calling themselves the “Egg-Vengers” rescue 1,000 eggs weekly from being thrown away, donating eggs destined for compost bins to local food banks instead.
In November of last year, Kasey Schalich grad pitched the idea for the club to a group of animal sciences students during a compost program, which she had been running for two years.
After hearing her pitch, four undergraduate students, Colin Detrick ’23, Regina Martinez ’22, Brianna Green ’23 and Sunny Levitis ’22, stepped up as leaders for the nascent campus organization.
Schalich first learned about these discarded eggs by speaking with a manager at the Cornell poultry farm, which led her to notice that only about 20 dozen eggs are actually sold by the animal sciences department, even though the farm has over 1,000 chickens.
“It seemed like a good opportunity to take … a good food that’s going towards waste and using it to solve a problem that we talk about –– food insecurity,” Shalich said.
After Schalich identified the issue and formulated a proposed solution, her and Prof. Thomas Overton, animal sciences, had to get clearance by the department to avoid food safety concerns, a barrier that had previously prevented eggs from being donated in the past.
Overton said that the department’s role was mainly to get it cleared by risk management. The animal sciences department funds the program, providing the club with the equipment needed to process the eggs before they can be donated.
So far, the students have reached out to local food banks and have begun donating the eggs. Area recipients so far include the Salvation Army, King Ferry Food Pantry and Loaves and Fishes.
However, even with 1,000 eggs to give away each week, “we have too many people who want a share. We can’t meet everyone’s requests every week, so we try and rotate,” Schalich explained.
The high interest for these donations stems from a high rate of food insecurity in the area. According to Overton, “30 percent or more of people in this region are food insecure.”
The club is currently working to expand its membership through poster and quarter card advertising, as well as getting the word out in animal sciences classes.
Additionally, the team is working on implementing a “breakfast burritos” program, where it will use the eggs in the breakfast burritos that they will make and sell on Central Campus as a “healthy and low cost breakfast item,” Detrick said.