AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Local medical students are helping to eliminate food waste and feed the hungry. 

Second-year Medical College of Georgia students Grace Koh and Michelle Lin are co-presidents of a local chapter of the Food Recovery Network. 

“What we do is we rescue surplus food from the dining hall and deliver it to local community partner organizations all around the Augusta area to really target food insecurity, food waste and reduce our environmental impact on campus,” said Koh.

Koh and Lin previously did food recovery work at Emory University as undergraduates. They began brainstorming ideas for a local program in March.

“For me personally, learning about the food insecurity here in Augusta was kinda like a driving- motivator- for me to want to see if we could do something as students,” said Lin.

In Augusta, studies have shown 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 4 children face food insecurity. 

Koh and Lin say heightened food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired them to continue the work they began.

“That food insecurity program we both ran at our undergrad was really monumental for me to grow as a leader,” said Koh. “And I really wanted to kinda provide that same growth for other students to get involved.”

After beginning recovery efforts in August, a team of more than seventy students have saved over 1500 pounds of food – an estimated 1200 meals… and 3700 pounds of CO2 saved.

Their efforts support Garden City Rescue Mission, Grace House of Augusta, Broken Outreach Ministries and the Ronald McDonald House.

“We really think it’s crucial that we take care of the social determinants of health that go into determining a lot of the health outcomes we see in our community,” said Koh. “And healthy food is just so crucial for those…to keep our communities healthy.”

To support this local chapter of The Food Network, you can donate to their GoFundMe at https://gofund.me/59ad8976.