MANKATO — Anyone who has taken a walk around town during October knows the sorry state of community apple consumption — rotting apples on the ground under backyard apple trees, fruit hanging on branches until well after the first snowfall.
One group of ambitious Minnesota State University students is hoping to take bushels of apples that would otherwise go to waste and put them into the hands of Mankato’s hungry.
Project Apple, a project by a group of six students in an MSU business class, hopes to collect apples from orchards or the backyards of area residents and donate them to Minnesota State University’s Campus Kitchens project.
Campus Kitchens takes prepared but unused food from MSU residence hall cafeterias and distributes it to the community’s hungry. Thousands of meals have gone out since the program debuted in October. The list of volunteers wishing to help, as well as the number of people being identified as needing its help, continues to grow.
Growth of an idea
The idea was born several months ago when leaders in MSU’s Student Leadership Development and Service Learning department began brainstorming ways to build upon the Campus Kitchens concept.
Last fall, when the program kicked off, faculty member Chuck Cantale offered up the fruit of his apple tree for use in Campus Kitchens meals. From there, the seeds of Project Apple were planted.
Enter the College of Business. Since the beginning of Campus Kitchens’ arrival on campus, the college has wanted to be involved, which fits right in with Student Leadership Development and Service Learning department’s mission of service learning.
Business faculty members worked with service learning staff to develop projects that would allow students in business classes to learn the principles of their major while doing some good for the community.
Project Apple was one of several available to the students in faculty member Brenda Flannery’s management class. Students Dan Byrne, Chad Nelson, Cody Anderson, Mark Newman, Holly Pridie and Qabbale Daddacha were assigned to the project.