Students walking up and down Tawes Plaza might have seen an unusual figure pacing the sidewalks yesterday afternoon.
The trademark cockerel from Nando’s Peri-Peri greeted Green Tidings customers as the Afro-Portuguese restaurant sold menu items from the food truck, with proceeds donated to the University of Maryland Campus Pantry.
The food truck and the Nando’s mascot were stationed outside of the Art-Sociology Building from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“I never go to the food truck because I know they’re kind of expensive, but because it’s Nando’s I’m going,” junior community health major Dibora Kuma said. “It’s for a good cause.”
The Campus Pantry, now located in the University Health Center, launched in 2014 to provide food free of charge to food-insecure students, staff and faculty.
“When we first were establishing the wonderful support from [Nando’s], they mentioned having an interest in sustaining that support through collaboration with Dining Services and student affairs, and ultimately having the cool idea about having the food truck take over,” said Allison Lilly, the pantry’s manager and Dining Services sustainability and wellness coordinator.
Lilly also said that the pantry has been using these financial contributions to support the purchase of supplemental foods that aren’t donated.
“This time of year, we actually don’t receive that many physical donations of food, and so we look to those financial donations or contributions such as Nando’s to help cover the cost of filling the pantry in the absence of those canned food drive donations,” she said.
Nando’s, which opened Oct. 25 on Route 1, donated all of the proceeds from its opening sales to the Campus Pantry, which raised $29,700, making it the most successful fundraiser the restaurant has had for a single opening.
“When Nando’s first opened and was preparing to open, they reached out to the university to see if there was an opportunity for a partnership or collaboration,” Lilly said. “They look to find an organization as a part of their opening and a partner organization or a nonprofit to donate to.”
Roz Moore, Division of Student Affairs assistant director for development and external relations at the Division of Student Affairs, said Monday’s event was well-received, but that the amount of money raised for the Campus Pantry won’t be known for a couple of weeks.
Giorgy Castaneda, a senior geographic information systems major, arrived at the food truck just after 1:00 p.m. and waited in a line of about 10 people.
“Usually I have a lab during this time, but it got canceled, so I was like, ‘Why not stop by and get some food?'” he said. “If money goes to a good cause, why not?”