Tag: community service

The Fit and Food Connection is a nonprofit organization that provides food and resources to low-income families. Through this organization, families learn how to make healthier decisions, from food selection to implementing exercise in their daily routines. The Fit and Food Connection is there to support and advocate for the wellness of those in the community.

They’re working with our Taylor Community Consulting Program this year as a client. We wanted to highlight The Fit and Food Connection’s previous experience working with students engaged in our TCCP Program.

Here’s what they had to say.

 What unique perspective do students bring? How did they drive impact in your specific project?

Students bring a youthful perspective, and they also bring their business smarts based on their field of study. They are also very tech savvy and can use that knowledge throughout the project with The Fit and Food Connection. They drove impact within our project because they set out to help us create some help for our volunteer onboarding within the organization, and they provided some great groundwork for our volunteer program.

Was there anything that surprised you about the engagement with the CEL team?  If so, what – and why?

We know what an incredible institution Washington University is, but these students were so smart and the level of their engagement made the project so very special. Often we see teams of students where a few people do most of the work, but within the CEL team everyone was very engaged and participated at a high level.

With any collaboration, sometimes things can become rocky! What was the most challenging aspect of working with the CEL/student consultants?

The time frame to work with is always challenging. By the time we get some of the ground work done, there is only a few months to really dig in and we don’t often get to complete everything that we need.

How do you see CEL’s work fitting into the greater vision and mission of your company?

We see the CEL working together with Fit and Food for a long time to come. The work of the students is invaluable and our needs as a growing organization are great. We love their energy and enthusiasm and all of the knowledge that they bring to create some significant changes and forward movement within our organization.

What was the biggest takeaway you learned from this experience – and was your hope that the students take this away, too? 

The students helped us with some significant changes in our volunteer onboarding system, and gave us a great structure to use as we onboard volunteers. Our hope is that the students learned about The Fit and Food Connection, and that they see the intense benefits of giving back in their community. We also want them to see how a community can work together to create positive change, and that their work can really make an impact. The biggest takeaway was seeing how much work can be done in a short period of time, and that when you work hard at something and have a goal, great things can be achieved.

Gabrielle, Co-Director of The Fit and Food Connection, ended  with a few final remarks:

“We know that all of the students that we worked with are going to go on and do great things in their lives. They have helped our organization so much, and if they have learned something positive about their strengths or creating positive change within our communities, that would make us happy. We are so blessed to have this wonderful program in our city, and we are excited for future partnerships together.”

Through the CEL’s Taylor Community Consulting Program, students can engage with the St. Louis Community and make life-changing impacts.  Students in TCCP are valued and respected by clients. We also value our clients–especially those like The Fit and Food Connection, whose mission is to empower the community.

You can read more about The Fit and Food Connection here.

Wondering what to do those with those gently-used shoes in your closet? Turn spring cleaning into a community service project that serves two communities at once! When you donate used shoes to the campus Shoe Drive, the shoes are sold to a secondary market for reuse both locally and globally and those revenues fund projects to to build clean water wells in developing communities. This serves to keep shoes out of landfills and to provide safe water for those who previously lacked easy access.

This year WashU, SLU and Fontbonne are working together to help fund a well that will bring clean, fresh water to Kashongi Village in Uganda. The challenge, titled “Battle for the Boot” ends April 30. The collective goal is 15,000 pairs of shoes. The Danforth Campus has an aggressive goal of collecting 3,000 pairs of shoes.

The Battle of the Boot shoe drive is in conjunction with Shoeman Water Projects, a local organization that works to collect and re-sell new and gently used shoes and uses the revenue to provide clean water in communities in developing countries.

shoemanwater 2

You can drop shoes off in labeled bins in any of the following locations:

  • Myers Hall (Office of Sustainability)
  • Alumni House
  • Millbrook Facilities building
  • Sam Fox School (Givens and Bixby Halls)
  • Women’s Building (Campus Card Office)
  • North Campus cafeteria
  • Athletic Complex (Student Athlete Lounge, Bottom Floor)
  • Bon Appetit Offices (next to Bear’s Den)

If you would like a collection bin in your building or office area, please contact Cheryl Waites at 314-935-3646.

Source: WashU Sustainability website


Orientation for Olin’s Specialized Masters Programs (SMP) students started this month, and a highlight was their Volunteer Day on Friday, August 12 at Operation Food Search. The local nonprofit feeds over 200,000 people in our region monthly and about a third of the recipients are children.

Over 120 students from the Master of Accounting, Master of Science in Customer Analytics, Master of Science in Finance, and Master of Science in Supply Chain Management programs volunteered. They cleaned containers, bagged meals, organized pallets and storage spaces, cleaned vehicles and more, which helped the Operation Food Search staff get ahead for the back-to-school fall season.

This was the largest volunteer group the organization had ever hosted, and the students remained flexible and hard-working to make the big turnout so productive. For more on Operation Food search, go to: http://www.operationfoodsearch.org/.


Washington University is partnering with Operation Food Search to coordinate the 6th annual PB&Joy University-Wide Food Drive, which runs April 7-19. Every pantry, kitchen and shelter affiliated with Operation Food Search sees a significant need for food during the summer months because St. Louis metro-area children are not in school where they receive at least two meals a day. The food collected during Washington University’s food drive will help supply much needed food for children over the summer months.

The PB&Joy University-Wide Food Drive has supported Operation Food Search’s efforts since 2011, and to date has collected nearly 60,000 pounds of food and nearly $45,000.

Food driveThere are two easy ways for students, staff, and faculty to participate:
1. Donate food at a drop-off location near you:  Simon Hall, Knight Hall or Knight Center. Kid-friendly foods are preferred and all food is welcome.  No glass items, please!
Click here for most wanted foods

2. Make an online donation to Operation Food Search. Click here to make a secure, tax-deductible donation to Operation Food Search.  Payment is by credit card, and every $5 donation allows Operation Food Search to provide 45 meals!

Click here to learn more about childhood hunger in St. Louis and opportunities to get involved beyond PB&Joy.



Nearly four years ago, Bears’ basketball star Tim Cooney, BSBA’14, had an idea to turn abandoned city lots into community basketball courts. He blogged about his dream right here on the Olin Blog:

My idea, Project Blacktop, is to turn empty unused lots in the city of St. Louis into basketball courts.  The idea is to beautify these empty lots with basketball courts which look nice and appealing when you drive by them.  The continuation of Project Blacktop is to host youth basketball clinics for neighborhood kids, and summer adult pickup basketball games and leagues.  The idea is for these courts to be active, positive spaces for the community.  The idea relies on the courts being used regularly and becoming positive spaces for community building events.

Cooney submitted his idea to Rally St. Louis, a new (at the time) online platform to crowdfund and support ideas to make St. Louis a better place. $10,000 and three years later, Cooney’s Project Blacktop is a reality. Watch video report on KMOV-TV here.

Congratulations to Tim on pursuing his hoop dreams and making St. Louis a better place. Tim Cooney is currently a district manager at Anheuser-Busch InBev in Syracuse, NY.

Related blog post.

Image: Courtesy of KMOV-TV