Our Annual Appeal- End Hunger This Holiday Season

Hunger in the U.S. doesn’t make sense. Community Plates is proudly leading the American food rescue movement – let’s work together to end food insecurity in 2017.

Our mission works. We’re innovative, cost-effective, and replicable. And we believe in the power of people to change our communities for the better. By supporting Community Plates today, you will make a difference!

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Community Plates Builds D.C.’s First Food Rescue Network

How exactly does a new Community Plates site get started? Food rescue volunteer and head of D.C. Food Recovery Working Group, Josh Singer, shares how he became involved with Community Plates and the newest location in our nation’s capital. This post was originally featured on https://dcfoodrecovery.wordpress.com/

If you’d like to support the D.C. site launch and food rescue in our nation’s capital, please visit our campaign page.


40% of all food produced in the US ends up in the dump and close to 20% of all families in DC feel some form of food insecurity. This is why organizations in DC and all over the country are working to recover the food before it gets to the dump and direct it to people who need it the most.

But one major barrier to food recovery is transportation. How do you get the extra food from a restaurant to a food pantry when neither organization has the capacity to transport the food? One solution to this dilemma is a food runner program.

Exactly 1 year ago a small group of people working at different food recovery organizations in DC decided to form the DC Food Recovery Working Group in order to promote food recovery programs and organizations happening in DC and develop new city-wide food recovery programs. To decide what to focus on we brainstormed all the barriers to donating food and there was one barrier that kept coming up in every scenario…transportation.

The working group decided to reach out to food runner organizations to see if anyone was interested in starting DC’s first food runner program. A food runner program is usually an app or website that coordinates volunteers to help transport extra food to food pantries, removing the transportation barrier. We eventually found the non-profit Community Plates that was already interested in DC for their next food runner site.cp-food-run-js-21

The working group partnered with Community Plates to build a network of places in DC that have extra food (restaurants, farmers markets, schools, caterers, etc.), food pantries that need food, and volunteers to help transport the food. In September, Community Plates did a soft launch in DC and immediately started to recover food.

I signed up for the program by downloading an app (or you sign up on the website http://foodrescue.us/getinvolved/ if you don’t like apps) that showed me a variety of places in DC that have extra food, what time the pickups are, and where to take the food for donation. As someone who is not app savvy I found it incredibly easy. I was able to search for the right pickup that was most convenient for me by location and time and I signed up for a pickup.

My pickup was at the 6th and I Synagogue on a Saturday at 1pm. Super convenient for me. I was also sent detailed instructions to a food pantry 10 minutes away to drop it off. I rescued enough food to easily feed 50 people and it took me less that 30 minutes.

If you’re looking for a way to make a huge difference at your convenience without much effort or inconvenience, check out DC’s First Food Runner Program Community Plates.

If you would like to be a Community Plates food rescuer in DC you can sign up here: https://app.foodrescue.us/register or contact the DC Site Director, Kate Urbank at kate@foodrescue.us for more information.

Check out all the food I recovered!!!!

 

 

Meet the Team: Melissa Spiesman, National Site Director for Community Plates

MelissaHometown/Current City:

Born and raised in Forest Hills, NY and I currently live in Stamford, CT.

What is your role at Community Plates?

As National Site Director, I coordinate and mentor on operations at existing sites, ensuring that each site has the necessary resources to maximize success. I am the liaison with partner sites, and develop relationships with potential partners.

What’s on your desk?

  • Cup of coffee and bottle of water
  • Mechanical pencils and sticky notes
  • to-do list
  • inspirational quotes-happiness is relationships not accomplishments

What do you like to do in your free time?

Exercise (yoga, hiking, cycling). Travel and eating with my family and friends. Relaxing on the couch, either reading or binge watching television.

How/when did you first become inspired around issues of American food insecurity?

On a trip to India, where I witnessed the poorest residents making some of the best food, with the little that they had access to. I realized we waste more food in this country than those people ate.

Who or what inspires you most?

My mom….my 2 daughters… the woods….the water

If there is one thing you recommend we could do to end hunger our communities, what would it be?

Change in our everyday habits around food waste and helping others. We need to educate and spread awareness about what it is to be food insecure and recognize that food insecurity exists in all of our communities.

Job Opportunity: Seeking a Site Director for Fairfield County, Connecticut

By now you probably know what we’re about but just in case you don’t, we’re all about ending American food insecurity through direct transfer food rescue. We are in our 5th year of food rescue, where we have rescued over 14,000,000 meals for hungry Americans.  We have a small but potent team but as you can see our vision for addressing this problem without a good reason for being is anything but small. Our core team is made up of passionate, energetic people who are consumed with delivering as much good food to those in need as possible. Our team values simplicity, community, gratitude, creativity and “saying yes.”

If this sounds like you and you’d like to be a part of the food rescue revolution at a very integral level, Community Plates is for you. Join us and be ready to share what you’ve learned, what you do best and who you are and then get ready to make a huge difference for your neighbors and people all over the country.

Position

We are seeking a leader passionate about positive change to direct Fairfield County, our flagship site. The requirements are simple; ability to build and motivate a team, strong computer skills and strong organizational skills for managing all the moving parts of direct transfer food rescue in Fairfield County. This position is about commitment to rapid growth focused on 100,000 plus individuals in this county who can’t provide for themselves the food they or their families need to live healthily.
The function of the National team is to administratively support our site directors in their food rescue mission, so when considering if you’re right for this opportunity think less about filling out stacks of paperwork and more about passionately motivating a movement.

Position Benefits

  • Ground floor access and voice to a game changing, innovative food justice platform.
  • Ability to work directly with Community Plate’s core team including our National Site Director and Executive Director.
  • Opportunity to see direct impact on underserved peoples.
  • Monthly cash stipend.

Responsibilities

  • Build and manage Fairfield County’s direct transfer food rescue team.
  • Set and meet growth goals related to annual “meals rescued” goals.
  • Identify potential donors (both in-kind and financial) for followup.
  • Public speaking a plus but not required.

Qualifications

  • Interest in non-profit organizations, passion for the cause and a desire to learn about and support Community Plate’s mission.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.
  • Knowledge of: Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Twitter, Facebook
  • Ability to manage time, balance multiple tasks, and meet deadlines
  • Familiarity and previous Community Plates experience a plus

Compensation & Time
We are looking to fill this position as soon as possible.

  • Compensation: Monthly cash stipend
  • Time: 10-15 hours per week, schedule can be determined based on availability all hours can be completed remotely.
  • Location: Wherever you can be doing the most good
  • Will review applications on a rolling basis

How to Apply:

To apply, send cover letter and resume to opportunities@communityplates.org. Please include “Fairfield County Site Director” in the subject line.

 

In the News: National Resources Defense Council Profiles Community Plates

The Natural Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the earth – its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. That mission led them to focus on our founder and organization in a recent profile on their site.

Tech Support: The Software Developer Who’s Fighting Food Waste

by Jolene Edgar, NRDC.com

Jeff Schacher knew that restaurants waste food. And that people are hungry. So he invented a tech-savvy way to rescue millions of meals.

Jeff_web

Forty percent of food in the United States is thrown away every year, while an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from food insecurity. These figures are almost too high, their relationship too confounding, to fully grasp. Luckily Jeff Schacher, cofounder of the Connecticut-based food-rescue organization Community Plates, is on a mission to reconcile this problem.

Schacher became acutely aware of hunger when he was growing up near Flint, Michigan, in the wake of the devastating 1980s General Motors layoffs. “We always had enough food to eat, but there were tons of poverty-stricken, struggling families,” he recalls. “I’d see kids at school in the morning, waiting in line for free breakfast. It planted the seed of wanting to help people having hard times.”

Read the full story on NRDC.com

On the Move: New Community Plates Locations, New Site Director, & A Record-Breaking Month

We Are on the Move!

Where you ask? Notre Dame University has launched a 6d89f132-ef69-480c-a82d-e59876af1992food rescue program with the support of Community Plates, Point72 Asset Management in Stamford will soon launch their own program in partnership with us, and our Washington, DC launch is imminent! We continue conversations in 598d6cdd-4ca0-4c31-a9a9-da068b626f80other cities around the country, stand by for news on the next wave of new sites!

 

New Albuquerque Site Director

6e32e486-8193-4936-8ad3-69ab31e740cePlease meet Brittainy Mullins, our new Site Director in Albuquerque! If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she is Kevin’s sister-in-law. Brittainy is ready to take over our operation and is excited to build our work out there. She was born and raised in the DFW area, graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a marketing degree and moved to Albuquerque in 2004 . After having two children, she fulfilled her dream of being a stay-at-home mom. While currently balancing her volunteer efforts at a local church and homeschooling her children, her passion for serving and helping others thrives. In her childhood years, her family was the benefactor of food benevolence programs. She expressed, “Now that I have a family of my own, I realize how lean my parents’ budget must have been. I’m excited to see the ruin of hunger in Albuquerque and feel Community Plates is just the key!”

The Numbers Don’t Lie

August was our most productive month EVER, we rescued 500,000 meals in one month! Our newest numbers look like this: meals rescued to date: 13.9 million, pounds of food saved from landfill: 20 million; conservatively valued at $35.6 million. WOW! That’s a lot of food running!

Fairfield County Fundraiser Events

We are benefitting from two fun foodie events in October in Fairfield County. Click on the links below for tickets and more information. We hope to see all of you there!

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Kitchen Crawl Tickets

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Chowdafest Tickets

Meet Miss Joyce of Wilson Food Pantry in Stamford, Connecticut

September is #HungerActionMonth and Community Plates is spreading awareness by highlighting some of our local hunger advocates. Did you know that our volunteers deliver food to more than 25 pantries and kitchens across Fairfield County each week? Wilson Pantry in Stamford is particularly special to us, as you can see from this post written by food runner Sam Mauro after a recent visit.
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missjoyce2 I walked into the basement pantry on Wednesday afternoon and found Miss Joyce sitting in her chair, sorting through some apples and bags of greens. “You guys done good by us this week,” she said, referring to the bountiful produce that some of our food runners dropped by the pantry. She was in a joyful mood despite the oppressive heat.

Have you met Miss Joyce yet? She’s the southern transplant that founded the food pantry at Wilson Church in Stamford, Connecticut. What started out as her retirement project soon turned into a two-day a week commitment for the past 11 years. Her goal for the pantry is simple; to make sure that every one of the 300 families she serves every week has a solid diet. She adds, “You help us in a great way to meet that goal.”
missjoyce1 Wilson Pantry isn’t a fancy operation. Miss Joyce operates out of a church basement with minimal refrigeration or storage space and she hands out food only once per week. She and her volunteers start every Wednesday putting together grocery bags for each family that will come through their doors on Thursday afternoon. It isn’t rare that Community Plates is often the only source of fresh fruits and vegetables for the pantry. The other food banks that donate typically only have bread products, and in the words of Miss Joyce, “You can’t grow strong kids on bread alone.”

Miss Joyce has a soft spot for the children that come through the pantry. She explains that many of the families have upwards of 5 kids and she gets to know every one of them. These families rely on Wilson and the efforts of groups like Community Plates to feed all of those mouths. Often the parents work but just don’t make enough money to pay all of the bills. Miss Joyce always tries to stash away some goodies for her pint-sized patrons, but, she mentions with a heavy heart, at the end of the day, there isn’t enough food to go around for everyone.

missjoyce3Usually when you drop at Wilson Pantry, volunteers are ready to help unload and bring the food right in from your car. But if you have a few extra minutes, go in and introduce yourself to Miss Joyce. She loves thanking volunteers in person and showing them her labor of love. And if you want to go the extra mile, ask Miss Joyce if you can volunteer on a Thursday to help hand out the food and see the impact of your efforts up close.

Five Ways You Can Support Hunger Action Month Locally

Hunger affects every community, and during Hunger Action Month, Community Plates is sharing five ways you can make a difference in your own neighborhood:

  1. Sign-up to become a Community Plates Food Runner.

Millions of meals have been rescued and millions of hungry Americans have been fed because volunteers on their own time and in their own cars are taking on this senseless problem of food insecurity. It’s easy to become a food runner. Sign-up to use our app that will connect you with food rescue opportunities in your city. Don’t see your city? Let us know.

  1. Share a Food Insecurity Fact.

Did you know that there are over 46.5 million food insecure individuals in the United States, or 1 in 7 Americans struggles to get enough to eat?

Food insecurity affects so many, and in our backyard. Share a fact with your friends and family to help us build local awareness. Interested in more facts? Check out the Hunger in America’s research

  1. Thank your local volunteer food rescuers and food donors.

Gratitude is important to us, it’s one of our core values. Everyday, we’re blown away by the passion and commitment of our volunteers who rescue food and those who donate leftover food. Help us take the time to thank our volunteers and donors, here are some in your community.

  1. Join the community and follow and tag us on social media! 
  1. Get your favorite market or restaurant to donate instead of waste.

This is easier than you think. Learn more about becoming a Community Plates food donor.

Food Donor Spotlight: Colgan Farms in Windsor, Connecticut

Meet our Community Plates donors. These organizations, companies, restaurants, farms, and markets are part of our community dedicated to helping eliminate hunger in the U.S. Our donors are the backbone to what we do, and provide the food that volunteer food runners rescue and deliver to our partner agencies.


Colgan Farms Volunteers

Colgan Farms Volunteers

Colgan Farms

Food rescue in action

Food rescue in action

I could not be more pleased that both Mitchell Colgan of Colgan Farms in Windsor CT and Erica Pagliuco of the Coventry Farmers market have decided to work with us. We have been trying to reach out to large farmers and farmers markets for a while now with little success. Finally Erica responded with enthusiasm and is dedicated to the food rescue mission. Since we started working together we have had more fresh produce than ever before. Not only are we able to give it out in the food pantry and use it in meals at our soup kitchen but we were also able to offer items such as cucumbers and tomatoes for our soup kitchen guests to take home with them (we’ve never been able to do that) we not only want to promote healthy meals when they are on MACC premises but promote them making healthy choices at home and through these amazing donations, we are able to do that! We cannot say enough about these two generous individuals, Mitchell and Erica!

– Meaghan Sprague, MACC Charities, Community Plates Hartford

Location: Windsor, Connecticut

Local Site: Community Plates: Hartford

About: Colgan Farm cultivates heirloom produce-no chemicals, no GMOs, only fresh, healthy vegetables for the local community.

Connect: https://www.facebook.com/ColganFarm/

Picking fresh produce at Colgan Farms for our Hartford partners

Picking fresh produce at Colgan Farms for our Hartford partners