Program Spotlight: Food Rescue

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The Food and Drug Administration states that Americans waste $165 billion worth of food each year, with supermarkets wasting $15 billion worth of unsold fruits and vegetables alone. The Action Center is committed to rescuing perishable food items to provide nutritious and fresh food to struggling individuals and families. The Action Center fulfills this commitment by implementing the Food Rescue Program, which provides high quality food items leftover at grocery stores and manufacturers to individuals and families in need.

The Food Rescue program has grown to include partnerships with community grocers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Safeway and Trader Joe’s. Collaborations with these local partners allow the Action Center to provide fresh produce, dairy, eggs and protein to clients. These food groups compliment the Action Center’s use of the USDA “Choose My Plate” food distribution format which states that fresh perishable items such as fruit, vegetables, protein and dairy are necessary for optimal health. Access to perishable food items high in nutritional content is often limited for food pantries and its recipients; however the Action Center challenges this claim by providing the most wholesome food possible to those in need.

In 2014, more than 1.5 million pounds of perishable and non-perishable food items were ‘rescued’ from participating Food Rescue partners across the Denver Metro area. Action Center volunteers and staff members witness the daily impact of having fresh, high quality food items available to individuals and families. Stephanie Longsdorf, Volunteer Team Leader at the Action Center, states “When I helped my food client, a stressed grandmother helping to raise her three grand-kids, load her food allotment into her car, she spotted the carton of a dozen eggs. She stopped right there and gave me a hug. She said she hadn’t been able to afford eggs in quite some time and that it was one of the kids’ favorite foods. Before the Food Rescue Program, we rarely had eggs [or other perishable foods] to hand out.”

The Action Center’s dedication to providing fresh food will continue to develop with the opening of the new Program Services building in 2015. The new building will feature a self-select grocery in which individuals can choose their favorite food items with the help of a volunteer. The grocery will feature a larger cooler which will provide additional space for perishable goods and a larger selection for clients. The Food Rescue Program would not be possible without the support of community grocers, as well as individual financial donations which allow the Action Center to fund the Food Rescue trucks and drivers.

 

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