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Food Rescue US Gets Fresh Food (that Otherwise would go to Waste) Directly to Those in Need

Looking for Alexandria Food Suppliers with Surplus, Volunteers, and Places to Donate

Two omen facting camera holding a cardboard box full of donated food.
Local Food Rescue DC Volunteer, Missy Breen, and Site Director Kate Urbank, Rescue food weekly From Firehook Bakery in Old Town. (Photo Credit: Kelli Goel)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Have you ever wondered what restaurants, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets do with their surplus fresh food?  Enter Food Rescue US. With 43 locations in 25 states, including DC, this network utilizes volunteers to quickly get this healthy food into the hands of those with food insecurity.

Recently I followed local Alexandria resident, Missy Breen, on one such mission. Breen has been passionately rescuing food with the local DC site for the past three years, and her love for the organization has grown and she now serves as a member of their Advisory Council.

Breen has “adopted” (Food Rescue US’s term meaning she does the same transport each week) two different restaurants two days of the week. On this day she was picking up leftover unsold bread and pastry items from Firehook Bakery in Old Town and delivering them straight to a local Alexandria church who will give them out on their grocery days (Thursdays or Fridays) or serve with their daily lunches.

Janet Thomas, Meade Memorial Episcopal Church, helps coordinate getting the rescued food straight into the hands of those who need it. (Photo Credit: Kelli Goel)

For Breen’s second adoption of the week, she picks up unsold pizza from We the Pizza in Crystal City every Sunday and delivers to a residential program center in Arlington where it is served that day.  She also picks up additional “rescues” when she sees on the Food Rescue app that there are no volunteers claiming them.

“I love giving back to my local community by filling plates of those who are food insecure,” says Breen, “rather than filling landfills.” She alone has rescued approximate 6,200 pounds of food since she’s been volunteering.

Like Breen, Kate Urbank (local site director) started as a volunteer in Connecticut. When she moved to DC eight years ago, Urbank noticed there was no site in the area, so she started one which has grown to having 300 active volunteers.

Food Rescue US is dedicated to eliminating hunger and food waste by providing nutritious, perishable food, including produce, fish, meat, dairy products, and premade meals using a direct-transfer model. Founded in 2011 as Community Plates in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the growing organization continued to expand and eventually in 2017 changed its name to Food Rescue US to recognize their national expansion. Their website boasts they have provided more than 117 million meals and kept more than 147 million pounds of excess food out of landfills.

In the last year alone, Food Rescue has helped 169 donors prevent nearly 2.5 million pounds of food from going to waste. Food rescuers completed 8,866 rescues to 127 partner agencies.

If you are a restaurant or food supplier in Alexandria who wants to get your surplus food directly into the hands of those who need it, please contact local Site Director Kate Urbank at 203-570-2560 or [email protected].

Urbank is also looking for places in Alexandria who need food delivered to them, as well as volunteers to transport the food. There’s an amazing interactive app that connects the restaurant to the volunteers to those who need food. “Our program is very flexible,” says Urbank. “If someone transports once a month that’s lovely, if they do it once. I appreciate that.”

Visit for more information.

Kelli Goel

Kelli Goel is a food blogger with The Zebra Press and lives with her husband and children in Alexandria, Virginia.

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