Tag: community outreach

Lawrence leftovers: Student organizations helping to feed the Fox Cities

An old English proverb claims the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Lawrence University senior and Servant Leader Fellow Shang Li is applying a similar philosophy not for affection, but to improve the lives of hundreds of area residents.

A product of Lawrence’s innovation and entrepreneurship program, Food for Fox is the brainchild of Shang, Rachel Gregory and Malcolm Lunn-Craft and run with the help of the Lawrence Food Recovery Network team to reduce food waste while also providing a healthy meal for clients of two area non-profit organizations, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Shelter and the Fox Cities Boys and Girls Club.

Helping to provide meals to area nonprofit organizations are Professor Mark Jenike, faculty advisor, Food for Fox co-founder Shang Li, Food Recovery Network co-presidents Sarah Diamond and Lindsay Holsen and Food for Fox co-founders Malcolm Lunn-Craft and Rachel Gregory.
Helping to provide meals to area nonprofit organizations are Professor Mark Jenike, faculty advisor, Food for Fox co-founder Shang Li, Food Recovery Network co-presidents Sarah Diamond and Lindsay Holsen and Food for Fox co-founders Malcolm Lunn-Craft and Rachel Gregory.

With the help of various student groups of volunteers — athletes, fraternity and sorority members, residents of theme houses and passionate individuals — unused food is collected from Andrew Commons, the Lawrence dining area, several evenings three weeks a month for twice-a-week deliveries of between 50 and 100 pounds of food to Harbor House. The collection the last week of the month is earmarked for a meal for children and their families at the Fox Cities Boys and Girls Club.

Beyond simple nutrition, Food for Fox’s goal is to support education of needy children through these donated meals.

“Food is a very powerful thing,” said Li. “We want to partner with local organizations to provide educational sessions for the children and their families on the importance of establishing healthy eating habits, especially at a young age.”

Gregory was drawn to Food for Fox in part because of her interests in sustainability.

“We waste an abundance of food, while many families in our own community go hungry or do not have access to a reliable supply of nutritious foods,” said Gregory, an environmental studies major from Plano, Texas. “We are melding two problems together to create a solution.”

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The Food for Fox program has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley to provide a family meal the last Friday of each month.

As of the end of February, the Boys & Girls Club had served 230 meals courtesy of the Food for Fox program.

“The biggest benefit of this program is being able to open the meal up to our member’s families,” said Holly Purgett, Healthy Habits Food Program Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Club. “Socially speaking, this event encourages families to have a meal together and spend quality time with one another on a Friday night. Our kids are proud to bring their parents, siblings and grandparents to the club and show them where they spend much of their time.

“Although we receive certain reimbursements, they do not cover all of our food program expenses,” Purgett added. “Having a meal donated, even once a month, helps with those non-covered expenses.”

Li was initially inspired by a Facebook video she saw two years ago about the Food Recovery Network, which prompted her to help establish a campus chapter — one of the first two in the state of Wisconsin — in the spring of 2014.

“That Facebook video really touched my heart,” said Li, a government and history major from Tianjin, China. “I was fascinated with how simple procedures and a support system can transform food waste into warm, nutritious meals for people in need.”

“I envision LU Food Recovery Network along with Food for Fox being run by generations of Lawrentians because there is always a demand for food and there is always a platform that will allow our students to shine as servant leaders.”
     — Shang Li ’16

In its first year of operation (May 2014- June 2015), the Food Recovery Network collected more than 5,000 pounds of leftovers, which were shared with its initial Fox Cities organizations, Loaves & Fishes and Homeless Connection. When those partnerships dissolved for various reasons, Li proposed the Food for Fox idea last fall to the Food Recovery Network’s new leadership team, Sarah Diamond and Lindsay Holsen. Harbor House and the Boys and Girls Club became the new beneficiaries.

“We are extremely appreciative of the Boys & Girl’s Club for their willingness to collaborate with Food Recovery Network and Food for Fox to create an event that has a lot of potential as it continues to build awareness, promote sustainability and provide meaningful meals to kids in need,” said Holsen, a Servant Leader Fellow who joined the Food Recovery Network board in 2014 and became co-president last April.

Food for Fox founders Shang Li (l.), Macolm Lunn-Craft (c.) and Rachel Gregory (r.) are using surplus food from Lawrence to help feed others in the community.
Food for Fox founders Shang Li (l.), Macolm Lunn-Craft (c.) and Rachel Gregory (r.) are using surplus food from Lawrence to help feed others in the community.

Like Li, Gregory and Holsen, Diamond is passionate about food, maximizing its use and reducing its waste. She sees the collaboration between the Food Recovery Network and Food for Fox as an ideal vehicle to accomplish those goals.

“Food is a topic that is largely under discussed in daily life, especially among those that have enough of it,” said Diamond, a junior from Winchester, Mass., who worked with a group that focused on food, farming and hunger in the Boston area while in high school. “The fact that 40 percent of food produced in this country is thrown away while at the same time one in seven Americans are food insecure is simply not okay.”

The students involved see the two programs growing and expanding their reach in the years ahead, including operating during the summer and winter term break.

“We want to be a support system to low-income families and their children throughout the year,” said Li, who plans to pursue graduate studies in social innovations post-Lawrence. “I envision LU Food Recovery Network along with Food for Fox being run by generations of Lawrentians because there is always a demand for food and there is always a platform that will allow our students to shine as servant leaders.”

Gregory sees great potential for the Food for Fox program, especially in the education realm.

“I hope over the next five to 10 years, the program increases awareness to food-related issues. We want to introduce the kids to delicious healthy foods they might not have tried before, which will give way to healthy life-long eating habits. Economically, Food for Fox could even increase economic efficiency among our donors as they begin to take note of which foods are often left over. In our work this term, we tried to build a simple, logical model that can be applied to many different locations so that the program expands throughout the Fox Valley, Wisconsin and the Midwest.”

Members of Lawrence's athletic teams are among the groups who volunteer to collect leftovers for the Food for Fox program.
Members of Lawrence’s athletic teams are among the groups who volunteer to collect leftovers for the Food for Fox program.

Julie Severance, general manager of Bon Appetit, has served as the advisor for Food Recovery Network since its inception while Mark Jenike, Pieper Family Professor of Servant Leadership and associate professor of anthropology, joined the team as faculty advisor earlier this year. John Brandenberger, Alice G. Chapman Professor Emeritus of Physics, Adam Galambos, Dwight and Marjorie Peterson Professor of Innovation and associate professor of economics, and Gary Vaughan, coordinator of the innovation and entrepreneurship program, have served as mentors to the Food for Fox program.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence’s “Music for All” outreach program performs at Riverview Gardens Feb. 24

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Michael Mizrahi

Lawrence University’s “Music for All” community outreach project performs the first of three interactive chamber concerts at Appleton’s Riverview Gardens Community Center, 1101 S. Oneida St., Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m.

The performance features Lawrence students and faculty, in collaboration with members of the New York City-based chamber ensemble Decoda. Light refreshments provided by Stone Cellar Brewing Co. will be served. The concert is free and open to the public.

Other Music for All concerts at Riverview Gardens are scheduled for April 20 and May 21 at 7 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.

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Erin Lesser

Pianist Michael Mizrahi and flutist Erin Lesser, both assistant professors of music at Lawrence, are co-directing the Music for All project. Both are also members of Decoda, whose mission says Mizrahi, “is to create deep artistic connections in members’ home communities, especially in non-traditional locations where such music is rarely performed.”

The “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project is supported by a $16,700 Arts & Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

New York Chamber Ensemble Opens New Lawrence Community Concert Series at Riverview Gardens

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Michael Mizrahi

The first of a series of concerts designed to being bring classical chamber music to non-traditional venues and populations will be performed Tuesday, Oct. 14 at Riverview Gardens Community Center, 1101 S. Oneida Street, Appleton.

The concert will feature members of Decoda, a New York City-based chamber ensemble comprised of virtuoso musicians, entrepreneurs and passionate advocates for the arts. The concert, at 5:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

The concert is part of Lawrence University’s new “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project.” In July, Lawrence received a $16,700 Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region to launch the program.

Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty members Michael Mizrahi, piano, and Erin Lesser, flute, are directing the program. Both are members of Decoda, which was recently named an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall.

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Erin Lesser

Decoda members also will spend five days at Lawrence as artists-in-residence working with faculty and students in a series of interactive performance workshops.

In addition to Riverview Gardens, Lawrence is partnering with the Fox Valley Warming Shelter, the Freedom Center Food Pantry and Jefferson Elementary School “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Music For All: Grant Helps Lawrence Launch New Community Outreach Project

An Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region will enable Lawrence University to launch a new program to bring classical chamber music to children and populations who ordinarily do not participate.

The $16,700 grant will support the “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project, which will be directed by Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty members Michael Mizrahi and Erin Lesser.

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Michael Mizrahi, assistant professor of music

Working with three community partners — Riverview Gardens, the Fox Valley Warming Shelter and Appleton’s Jefferson Elementary School — Lawrence faculty and students will stage a series of classical music performances beginning this fall using interactive techniques to create deep, artistic connections in settings where such music is rarely heard.

The project will bring members of the New York City-based Decoda chamber music group to campus to help Lawrence students and faculty learn interactive performance methods, write scripts, create entry points into musical works and engage non-traditional audiences.

“I see this project as part of a musical renaissance in Appleton and beyond.”
    — Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music

“We believe communities are made stronger through positive interaction and shared experiences,” said Mizrahi, a pianist who joined the Lawrence faculty in 2009 and also a member of Decoda. “We also believe that music has the power to connect people, transcend social barriers and provide meaningful emotional experiences. This project will facilitate active participation, conversation, engaged learning and meaningful connections among classical musicians and non-traditional audiences.”

The three community partners were targeted for the project because they represent diverse populations, including young children, “at-risk” teens, people experiencing homelessness, adults in job training programs and community garden members.

Approximately 1,000 individuals from FVWS and RVG, along with 200 students from Jefferson Elementary School, will benefit from increased access to live musical performance and interactive learning with this project.

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Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music

Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, sees the Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” initiative meshing perfectly with the conservatory’s core belief that music is for everyone and it can change lives in profound ways.

“This projects puts our philosophy into action so our students can figure out how best to give an audience entrance points into the music and then go out and actively engage the community in the wonder and beauty of the music,” said Pertl. “Music, and particularly classical music, should not be treated like some revered museum piece to be passively stared at through a dusty glass case. This project allows our faculty and students to find new ways to actively engage audiences from schools to warming shelters to concert halls in a meaningful, moving dialogue with the music. I see this project as part of a musical renaissance in Appleton and beyond.”

Approximately a dozen concerts are planned at the three partner sites during the 2014-15 academic year, most of which will be free and open to the public.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.