Making a Difference, One Grilled Cheese at a Time
By Kelli Galayda
Is it possible that something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich could work to fight the poverty epidemic? A group of college kids thinks so, and the simple comfort food is the basis of their fight.
Billions of people around the world are living in extreme poverty, with barely enough food to stay alive and no place to call home. While poverty is a vastly complex problem, FeelGood is an organization that plans to eradicate extreme poverty by the year 2030 with grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s right: they are using something as simple as serving up cheesy goodness to end a massive global problem.
FeelGood chapters hold “delis” or “delivery nights” where they make grilled cheese sandwiches, typically with George Forman grills, and sell them to students or deliver them across campus via phone or online orders. FeelGood donates the profits from their pay-what-you-can sandwich sales to the members of the Commitment 2030 Fund, made up of Pachamama Alliance, Choice Humanitarian, Water for People, and the Hunger Project. These organizations work to achieve SDGs – or Sustainable Development Goals – which are set to “achieve zero poverty by the year 2030 by creating a thriving, sustainable world for everyone.”
Part of the global influence stems from right here in the Garden State. Eric Fitzpatrick, a senior at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, helped start a chapter with his friend Nick Guarriello at his school in 2011.
Since the inception of FeelGood at Stevens, Eric has served multiple positions on the board and currently serves as the president of the chapter. He also serves on FeelGood’s board of directors as the Chapter Recruitment Co-Chair. When it comes to the Steven’s chapter, Eric handles a lot of the day-to-day responsibilities that come with keeping the chapter afloat. He leads the weekly meetings, which cover everything from “poverty as the nexus for education” to “deli training and food safety.” He also handles food shopping, phone and online orders for deli operations, and frequently updates the university’s chapter advisor of FeelGood on the status of the club. Eric is a jack-of-all-trades and is the initiator and the driving force behind the Stevens chapter of FeelGood.
Globally, FeelGood has had quite the impact. One hundred percent of the proceeds from all chapters across the country go to the Commitment 2030 Fund. From there, the money is split among the four organizations in the fund. Those groups “are the ones that do the boots-on-the-ground, grassroots work in the developing world,” says Eric. “They are all focused on different Sustainable Development Goals, which were recently ratified by 193 country leaders at the UN General Assembly that took place at the end of September.”
FeelGood and Eric have greatly impacted the local communities they engage with. “Besides building a student organization, I think that I’ve helped to foster a pretty cool community,” said Eric. “The kids in FeelGood are all smart and funny, and they know that while it will take a lot of work to defeat extreme poverty, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it in a fun and engaging way. I think it’s really cool when the new kids in FeelGood have it click where they see that the organization is more than making grilled cheese on George Forman grills and running them across campus.”
FeelGood helps college students become more aware of the poverty issue across the world and sparks a discussion on how to make a difference from right in our own community. Reaching out to college students is especially important because they are the makers of the future. Informing students about extreme poverty will help eliminate the problem and create a world where all people can thrive. To learn more about the FeelGood movement and how you can help, visit their website at www.feelgood.org.
TEDxNavesink 2016 is focused on makers just like Eric and FeelGood. If you are interested in learning more about innovative and influential people, then this is an event you can’t afford to miss! A special ticket promotion will begin November 15 and will run through January 2. This ticket deal is the perfect gift for you and others on your holiday shopping list! Visit www.tedxnavesink.com to learn more and purchase your tickets beginning November 15!
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Kelli Galayda is currently a student at Monmouth University majoring in Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television studies. She is from a small town in New Jersey, but has a passion for traveling anywhere she can get to. Between classes, you can find her snapping pictures, ranting about music or politics, and being an ambassador for Monmouth’s study abroad program. She plans to pursue a career in writing or photography.
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