There's No Place Like Harvard For the Holidays

Communications problems and new food preparation methods in the Houses have threatened the supply of food to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter at the University-Lutheran Church (UniLu), shelter officials said yesterday.

Last week, a "communication problem" prevented UniLu--the only completely student-run shelter in the nation--from getting any food from Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS). River dining halls have been the main source of food distributed by the shelter for about 10 years, according to HUDS Executive Chef Michael Miller.

But for about one week after the shelter's annual opening on November 15, the shelter went without HUDS food. UniLu retrieved food from HUDS last night for the first time this year.

The lack of HUDS food for the past week has forced the shelter to use its small budget to buy groceries and turn to donations from the Harvard and Cambridge communities.

"It's an emergency situation," said Jondou J. Chen '01, UniLu's emergency director on call. "We've been trying for the past week and a half to retrieve food, but somewhere in the communications process [with HUDS] we haven't gotten any."

Miller said that HUDS is committed to helping the shelter, but said he didn't have the details of current delivery problems.

"I don't have all the particulars," Miller said. "But let me say that we're going to do whatever we need to do to support the shelter. And that's that. I want to see those people fed."

Chen said he is worried the shelter will receive less food from HUDS now because dining hall renovations have allowed HUDS to more precisely gauge the amount of food to produce in each House.