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. She now serves as a member of their Advisory Council.
Breen has “adopted” (Food Rescue US’s term that means she does the same transport each week) two different restaurants two days a week. On this day, she picked up unsold bread and pastry items from Firehook Bakery in Old Town and delivered it straight to a local Alexandria church that would give it out on their grocery days (Thursdays or Fridays) or serve with their daily lunches.
For Breen’s second adoption of the week, she picks up unsold pizza from We the Pizza in Crystal City every Sunday. She 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 no volunteers claim them.
“I love giving back to my local community by filling plates of food insecure people,” says Breen, “rather than filling landfills.” She alone has rescued approximately 6,200 pounds of food since volunteering.
Like Breen, Kate Urbank (local site director) started as a volunteer in Connecticut. When she moved to DC eight years ago, Urbank noticed no site in the area, so she started one, which has grown to 300 active volunteers.
Food Rescue US is dedicated to eliminating hunger and food waste by providing nutritious, perishable food using a direct-transfer model, including produce, fish, meat, dairy products, and premade meals. Founded in 2011 as Community Plates in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the growing organization continued to expand. In 2017, it changed its name to Food Rescue US to recognize its 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 that need food delivered and volunteers to transport the food. An amazing interactive app connects the restaurant to the volunteers and 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 foodrescue.us/site/food-rescue-us-dc/ for more information.