Harvest Dinner 2017


The Bluffton University Nutrition Association (BUNA) hosted the 15th annual Harvest Dinner on Friday, Nov. 17. Food and nutrition students, ceramics students, music majors and volunteers from the SERVE student-service organization all took part in giving back to the local community by raising money for two area food pantries.

“The Bluffton University Nutrition Association saw a need in our community 15 years ago and ever since we have been committed to raising money, volunteering, and advocating for our local pantries,” said Laura Galley, BUNA president and senior food and nutrition major from Indianapolis, Ind.

The money raised from the dinner benefited the Bluffton Community Assistance Corporation and the Churches United Pantry (CUP) in Lima. Approximately 350 people attended the dinner which raised $2,500 for the local organizations.

Additionally, this year BUNA also provided free dinner invitations to food pantry patrons. “We served 40 free meals at the Harvest Dinner and donated another 50 boxed leftover meals to the Bluffton Community Assistance Program that were handed out the following Saturday morning,” said Galley.

BUNA organized the event while the Food Service Management class took care of production and preparation. Food and nutrition students worked Wednesday evening through Friday peeling potatoes, making and drying noodles, and baking cakes.

“They’re cooking for hundreds of people and that’s a big project in itself. The experience is invaluable, and they are able to give a pretty substantial donation to the food pantries, which the pantries rely on,” said Jeanna Haggard, assistant professor of food and nutrition.

Ceramics students provided bowls for donations, music majors provided live entertainment, and SERVE students assisted in serving the meal. “I really feel like the Harvest Dinner is a collaborative effort; it involves a lot of people from campus,” said Galley.

With help from area farms and businesses, many of the ingredients the students used were locally sourced and donated. Additionally, the Bluffton village schools donated space to host the Harvest Dinner. This year’s dinner featured comfort food including: chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert. 

The Harvest Dinner is just one way BUNA and Bluffton students give back to the community in dynamic ways. BUNA members also volunteer at CUP, and take part in many other events on campus to promote mindful eating and promote food security.

“The Harvest Dinner preparation takes a lot of planning and thinking through,” said Madeleine Elwell, a senior food and nutrition major from Hamilton, Ohio. “I like the experience of working with the food, but I’m also really thankful for the opportunity to give back to the community.”


Cara Echols ’19, PR Student News Writer