Peter Genuardi

Daily Point of Light # 1422 Jul 16, 1999

As a student at New York University (NYU), Peter Genuardi has been an incredible force on the campus. An active volunteer, member of several groups and clubs on campus and founder of the Anti-Hunger League at NYU, Genuardi demonstrates extraordinary youth leadership.

His community work includes an internship at the Legal Aid Society of Brooklyn, the coordination of a Thirty-Hour Famine to Stop World Hunger and regular volunteering at the NYU Catholic Center's Soup Kitchen. He is also a member of Students for Social Equality and the prestigious Scholars Program within the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU. However, Genuardi's most impressive service stems from his work in a group that he founded two years ago.

In the summer of 1997, Genuardi founded the Anti-Hunger League, a volunteer student group dedicated to relieving the burden of hunger in the community through food rescue and homeless outreach. With a current membership list of more than 100 students, the Anti-Hunger League coordinates a number of volunteer projects throughout the academic year including two model programs: the World's Largest Food Drive and the Midnight Delivery.

After months of planning, Genuardi, along with the help of his fellow students, coordinated the first "World's Largest Canned Food Drive." On November 21, 1998, more than 75 volunteers from NYU clubs, scholar groups and offices collected food from grocery stores between Canal Street and 34th Street, and the East River and the Hudson River—an area of over four densely concentrated square miles. Strategically planned for the weekend before Thanksgiving, the drive was conducted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Within those four hours, 3,500 cans of food were collected from over 20 supermarkets. This resulted in an average collection of 14 cans per minute!

Genuardi is also instrumental in coordinating the Midnight Delivery project. Several times per year, volunteers prepare about 80 bag meals and distribute them to homeless men and women in lower Manhattan. In addition to a carefully planned meal, an information card of services and resources for the homeless is included. This program has been a very effective way of ensuring that homeless men and women in New York receive the food and information they need to begin to rebuild their lives. Genuardi is also credited with "planting a seed" in the minds of several administrators involved in the renegotiations of the university's contract with Aramark Food Services. For more than a year, he advocated for the donation of any unused and surplus food from any Aramark catered event or residence hall to a food rescue agency. In September 1998, NYU became one of few to set such a precedent.

Genuardi is currently working on putting together a "Procedures Manual" on how to coordinate these and other events to benefit the hungry in local communities. He will be sharing this technical assistance manual with other colleges and universities across the country and hopes that these models will be widely implemented in a greater effort to eradicate poverty in the United States. Genuardi was recently selected as a 1999 Mickey Leland Hunger Fellow. Through this fellowship, sponsored by the Congressional Hunger Center, he will work for six months in a community field placement working for an organization that serves the hungry. For another six months, he will be assigned to a policy based organization in Washington, DC that works on issues affecting the poor, hungry and homeless.