Student nonprofit kicks off holiday campaign to redistribute leftover food



Transfernation, a nonprofit by two NYU students that redistributes leftover food from corporate events, has officially begun its holiday season campaign.

Larson Binzer, Senior Editor

In keeping with the holiday spirit of helping others, the non-profit organization Transfernation officially kicked off its 2016 Holiday campaign on Tuesday. The organization works to redistribute extra food from catered events, restaurants and supermarkets to local homeless shelters and food kitchens.

The campaign was launched on #GivingTuesday, an independent movement on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to launch an international day of giving and generosity at the start of the holiday season. The campaign’s target is to raise $20,000 by Dec. 24. It also marked the release of Transfernation’s app, which simplifies the process of gathering volunteers for the food transfers.

Samir Goel, co-founder of Transfernation and a Stern senior, said the goal is to make it so corporations don’t even question where to put their leftover food, and he hopes to get everyone involved with the holiday season campaign.

“Fifty-thousand donors that give one dollar is just as powerful, or more powerful, than one donor who gives $50,000,” Goel said. “There’s definitely a way for everyone to be involved. The dream that we are working toward is to imagine a Thanksgiving where everyone had enough food to eat.”

The campaign will consist of fundraisers through local businesses in the area, donation sites online and a fundraising competition among NYU student clubs. Transfernation has partnered with local sponsors such as Astor Place Fitness, Chipotle, Soho Tiffin Junction and Oren’s Coffee to host donation nights and provide prizes for the winning teams of the competition.

Transfernation is currently a team of five people and has 15 to 20 regular volunteers. Together, they have helped transfer 10,000 pounds of food and supplies since the organization launched in the spring of 2013 to kitchens such as Bowery Mission, City Harvest and NYC Rescue. The organization’s long-term goal is to be able to transfer 10,000 pounds of food per week to organizations in need and have the manpower to operate on that level.

Goel said how much they can handle is over capacity at this point in time, and the organization needs funding to expand operations and the amount of food they are able to transfer to people in need.

“At the point where we are now, it’s all about scaling,” Goel said. “It’s about taking what we’ve been able to learn over the last year and a half, and the effect we’ve been able to have and hopefully being able to spread it to new communities and helping more people. We see it as our opportunity to really make a bigger impact overall.”

Transfernation was founded through the Resolution Social Venture Challenge in 2013 through the Resolution Project. Goel was named a Resolution Fellow at the competition and given seed-funding and mentorship help to start up the organization.

Alim Williams, the CEO of Social Effort, which helped Transfernation create and launch the app, said the two organizations worked to combines their approaches to create a simple solution to transporting food to people in need.

“How can we continue to help others make immediate positive changes?” Williams asked. “Supporting this campaign allows Transfernation the ability to offer more opportunities for food rescue, bringing us one step closer towards moving the needle on solving the problem of food waste.”

Hannah Dehradunwala, co-founder of Transfernation and Gallatin senior, hopes the organization can expand and reach into the outer boroughs over the next year.

“I hope this campaign is a way to engage NYU around an issue that has been gaining a lot of momentum recently and to hopefully create more activity and engagement around it for an extended period of time,” Dehradunwala said. “Hunger is so solvable, if only we start viewing food as a liquid resource and don’t allow ourselves to get bogged down by the liability myth.”

Email Larson Binzer at [email protected].