Food for Thought

After earning undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Computer Science at UC Berkeley and Stanford, and working in high tech, Marv Zauderer MS ’02 came to Dominican to learn how to give back.

With his master’s in Counseling Psychology, Zauderer not only launched a second career as a licensed psychotherapist, but also a third one as Founder and Executive Director of ExtraFood.org, a county-wide, nonprofit food recovery program in Marin.

“High-tech was a heady job, and I’m constantly using what I learned there in my work leading a nonprofit,” Zauderer says. “But it was my training at Dominican, and being a therapist, that cultivated my heart. The empathy, compassion, and collaborative skills that I developed during that time play a role in everything I do at ExtraFood.”

ExtraFood collects excess food from businesses and organizations and donates it to nonprofits across the county. Relying on funders, food donors, recipient partners, a small staff, and 250 volunteers, ExtraFood has delivered 1.2 million pounds of food — about 1 million meals — from 175 donors to 92 sites in Marin, including 21 new food programs they’ve started with their partners. They reach more than 5,000 vulnerable people every month with deliveries of healthy, fresh food.

“My experience in Dominican’s program directly influenced our founding of ExtraFood in late 2013,” says Zauderer, who grew up in Silicon Valley and worked for companies such as Apple after graduating with his MS from Stanford. “Through my internships in agencies and schools I counseled many low-income adults and kids. For the first time in my life, I saw from the inside what it was like to not have enough food. And I was shocked when I learned how many people in this county live in poverty. I believe everyone has a right to have enough healthy food and I wanted to help make that happen in our community.”

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Zauderer’s goal is not only to help an estimated 10,000 children in affluent Marin County who live in food-insecure families and 16,000 seniors who can’t make ends meet, but also to educate people about food waste and hidden hunger. On July 17 — the opening day of this year’s Summer Odyssey at Dominican  — Zauderer’s company graciously delivered low-fat and whole milk to the University for a Summer Odyssey class entitled “Conscious Cooking: Wasting Less Never Tasted So Good.” Summer Odyssey is an innovative two-week program designed specifically for academically gifted and creatively talented students in grades 2-9 from Marin County’s public and independent schools. The milk, recovered from grocery stores, was used for smoothies and later for buttermilk pancakes, pancake batter, sour cream cake, and pudding.

“Forty percent of all food in the U.S. is wasted, which also causes an enormous environmental problem,” Zauderer says. “And yet so many are hungry. Educating our children about these problems — and the solutions — will help bring the day when every person has the food they need.”

To support Zauderer’s cause, visit ExtraFood.org.

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