Update from Columbus, Ohio: New Food Runs, New Food Donor & Save the Date

Hello Community Plates Columbus!

There is so much happening with Community Plates right now. First of all we finally have a run in Bexley, we will be picking up from Brueggers Bagels every Saturday and Sunday. We are also picking up daily from the Brueggers on Neil Avenue, this is a great run for anyone who lives near campus or works at OSU. Rosa & Roccos in New Albany is back to donating surplus from their awesome Sunday brunch.

unnamed (6)Please join me in welcoming Hoof Hearted Brewery as a donor. I know the name is funny but the food, the beer and the donations are great. I highly recommend the Sunday brunch!

Please mark your calendars for Community Plates Food For All 2016. This is our annual fundraiser which will be held at Gordon Biersch in the Arena District on Thursday April 21 5:30-8:30. You will all be receiving an official invitation soon.

Victory Ministries has moved to a new, much larger location in Whitehall. This is another great one for Bexley runners. Below is a picture of the Little Caesars Stygler run that goes to Victory Ministries every Wednesday. Don’t let the picture scare you. We usually pick up about 30 pizzas, but this one was 95!

– Susan Keiser Smith

Please Welcome Nick Carlisi, Community Plates NOLA Site Director

unnamedOriginally from Long Island, NY, Nick came to New Orleans to study the Jazz culture and embrace the Big Easy lifestyle. During his undergraduate career at Loyola University and realizing he had to pay the bills somehow, Nick started working in the food industry. There, he not only developed a passion for artisanal coffee but also saw firsthand the massive amount of food that goes to waste each day.

Nick said, “I was thrilled to discover an alternative to food waste and jumped at the chance to join the Community Plates family. I am excited to apply my creativity and passion to help those who are food insecure. New Orleans has given me so much, I am more than happy to give back.”

If he is not brainstorming unique ideas or trying new things, you can find Nick pursuing his other passions: playing gypsy jazz on guitar and coaching high school wrestling. He hopes to do everything the world can offer him and travel to as many places as possible. In the meantime, he enjoys unicycling, roasting his own coffee, and admiring the qualities of his favorite animal: a sloth.

Getting to Know: Community Plates in Albuquerque, New Mexico

 


Facts & Figures


Why do you rescue food for Community Plates?

IMG_4967Before I even saw it on the website, when I heard about Community Plates I joined because it just makes sense! I cringe when I contribute to food waste on a personal level, so to think by becoming a food runner I could have an impact on a macro level was amazing. Especially as a student this is the PERFECT volunteer opportunity because you don’t always know what your week is going to look like but you do often have pockets of free time during the day. Also it is an incredible way to be more intimately connected to your community.
– Julie Gallagher, New Orleans

 


Meet Kristin Fleming, Community Plates Albuquerque Site Director

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I rescue food because nearly half of our working families are low income and cost-burdened. Getting food to families in need is one less (of so many) things for them to worry about, and allows them to begin to shift the focus from simply surviving to thriving.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to roam the bosque, ride bikes with friends, and experiment with clay plasters.

What is the biggest challenge in your community?

Sadly, New Mexico ranks highest in child hunger, and current policies are making it harder to get healthy food to hungry kids. There is so much need here, but so much abundance, too. It’s connecting the dots and building community that makes the difference.

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

I went to school in Pittsburgh, and it was there that I really noticed some extreme disparities in neighborhood food access. Pittsburgh is also unique in that while it’s quite dense, it’s hilly and divided by rivers creating some interesting geographic barriers to folks without access to transportation. More affluent neighborhoods are brimming with restaurants and groceries, while others are lucky to have a corner store where the only option is processed food. Without a car, or the time to take multiple buses, or the ability to walk up and down the hills to get there, shopping for fresh foods is literally impossible for some people. And that doesn’t even account for the cost of food, which is prohibitive for so many regardless of geography.

If there is one thing we should do to help eradicate food insecurity in our communities, what would it be, and how can we get involved?

Get involved with Community Plates, of course! We’ve made it so easy to plug right in and get to the meaningful work, taking food that would otherwise be wasted to folks that are hungry. It’s a great place to start to reconnect with our relationship to food and community. And from there, who knows? Hopefully wasting less, growing more, and always sharing the abundance.

Read the full profile

 


 

Meet Kristin Fleming, Our New Site Director for Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Kristin Fleming

Hometown/Current City:

Erie, PA >> Albuquerque, NM

What is your role at Community Plates? 

I’m the new site director here in Albuquerque!

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I like to roam the bosque, ride bikes with friends, and experiment with clay plasters.

What is the biggest challenge in your community? 

Sadly, New Mexico ranks highest in child hunger, and current policies are making it harder to get healthy food to hungry kids. There is so much need here, but so much abundance, too. It’s connecting the dots and building community that makes the difference.

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

I went to school in Pittsburgh, and it was there that I really noticed some extreme disparities in neighborhood food access. Pittsburgh is also unique in that while it’s quite dense, it’s hilly and divided by rivers creating some interesting geographic barriers to folks without access to transportation. More affluent neighborhoods are brimming with restaurants and groceries, while others are lucky to have a corner store where the only option is processed food. Without a car, or the time to take multiple buses, or the ability to walk up and down the hills to get there, shopping for fresh foods is literally impossible for some people. And that doesn’t even account for the cost of food, which is prohibitive for so many regardless of geography.

Who or what inspires you most?

Oh gosh. So many people and so many things, past and present. Artists, makers, activists. In this particular moment though, I’m thinking of my parents back East, who worked real hard to raise my sister and I, and who now have the chance to work hard for themselves creating businesses that have become neighborhood mainstays. Their work has been all heart and 70+ hour weeks, and although my work keeps taking me away from home, they’ve been nothing but supportive as I carve out a similar path.

If there is one thing we should do to help eradicate food insecurity in our communities, what would it be, and how can we get involved?

Get involved with Community Plates, of course! We’ve made it so easy to plug right in and get to the meaningful work, taking food that would otherwise be wasted to folks that are hungry. It’s a great place to start to reconnect with our relationship to food and community. And from there, who knows? Hopefully wasting less, growing more, and always sharing the abundance.

Our Volunteer Recruitment Drive is ON!

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Since this revolution started in 2011, more than 1300 individuals have completed a food rescue, with an overall total of more than 10 million meals rescued and delivered to date. This annual food runner recruitment drive is motivated by the question “what would happen for America’s food insecure if we could double that number this year?” We think it can be done and hope all of you will help us continue this march toward the end of food insecurity in our communities.

We will be partnering with various supporters in our locations this month. In Fairfield County, our Community Partner b.good will be hosting a family event for us at the end of the month in their new Greenwich restaurant. We are planning additional activities and fundraising events in their other CT stores, watch out for details and mark your calendars, it’s going to be great!

SIGN UP TODAY TO VOLUNTEER 

A Q&A with Columbus, Ohio Site Director, Susan Keiser-Smith

Meet one of our longest-serving site directors, Susan Keiser-Smith. She has been at the center of our food rescue efforts in Columbus. An active volunteer in her community, Susan is passionate about food rescue and children in need.

 


Hometown/Current City:susan
Troy, OH

What is your role at Community Plates?
Columbus Site Director

What do you like to do in your free time?
Travel, play soccer, spend time with family, kayak, hike

How did you first become inspired around issues of food insecurity?
Through Community Plates. One of my neighbors started CP in Columbus. I did a few runs and the rest is history.

Who or what inspires you most?
The strong women in my family. I really miss my grandmas, one had dementia and was an inspiration even in her darkest days. The other lived to be 103 and lived at home until the last few months of her life. My mom and sister are my rocks.

If there is one thing we should do to help eradicate food insecurity in our communities, what would it be, and how can we get involved?
Finding new runners. Once someone signs up for their first run and realizes how easy and rewarding it is, they are hooked.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year from Community Plates

Season’s Greeting and Happy Holidays to our Community Plates Family!

This is our time to thank you for your commitment to ending food insecurity in the United States.  In 2015, you have donated, rescued, delivered and/or received 3.87 million meals across the country. Last month was our biggest ever, a whopping 408,750 meals transferred. This brings our national total, since we started in 2011, to 9.1 million meals rescued and 13.7 million pounds saved from landfill! Thank you just doesn’t seem to cover it. 

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A Q&A with Fairfield County’s New Director, Kate Albrecht

We are excited to welcome Kate Albrecht as the new Fairfield County Site Director for Community Plates. Kate grew up in Washington, D.C. and spent many years there working in politics and as a lawyer. When her family was relocated overseas and she was unable to practice law, she decided to pursue her life-long passion for cooking. She enrolled in culinary school and spent a year immersed in the art and science of food. With a chef’s diploma in hand, she started a small catering company in central London delivering healthy lunches to desk-bound office workers. However, the States ultimately called them home, and Kate’s family relocated to Fairfield County.

“While I was just learning my way around, I started volunteering for Community Plates. I completely fell in love with the Community Plates approach to linking food rescue with hunger, leveraging technology, and involving people from across the County to get it all done,” explained Kate.


 

What is your role at Community Plates?

I was recently named the Fairfield County Site Director. I work with our donors and partner agencies to grow the organization, manage the schedule of food runs and support our incredible team of volunteers. It’s amazing the number of hours that so many volunteers put in every single week to make Community Plates work.

IMG_20151124_092111674_TOP (1)

Kate, during a Thanksgiving weekend food run in Fairfield County.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love cooking, especially baking bread. A few years ago I worked a 5am shift at a bakery so I could learn to make proper bread, and now I make bread at home once a week. I read a lot, especially non-fiction. I am a bit of a news junkie. And I love exercise. I have been learning to row, which is really hard but also incredibly rewarding.

How did you first become inspired around issues of hunger and food insecurity?

When I learned about what Community Plates was doing — taking advantage of a free resource to get healthy food to those who need it most — I was really motivated to get involved. When you consider how much food is thrown away in our country, it really hits home that hunger in the US, and in Fairfield County, makes no sense.

Who or what inspires you most?

I have a lovely aunt-in-law who is full of wisdom and energy. She said to me once that “There is so much that needs to be done. People need to stop talking so much and just do something.” When I find myself complaining, I think of her and I ask myself “What am I doing about it?” THIS motivates me.

Can you share a memorable moment from one of your food runs?

I love taking my children on food runs. They love seeing the back of a grocery store (so do I, truth told), but they are also amazed by the amount of food that we collect and the number of people we can help feed. They take the work really seriously and have a lot of pride about their involvement.

If there is one thing we should do to help end food insecurity in our communities, what would it be, and how can do you recommend we get involved?

I really want people to focus on the quality of the food that they donate. Most food drives focus on foods with a long shelf life, like pasta and canned soup. But really we should be focusing on the kinds of foods that people want and need, not just the foods that are easy to store. One reason I love Community Plates is that we are rescuing fresh nutritious foods like produce and dairy and getting them directly to where they they are needed. People can obviously help by rescuing food with us, but they can also encourage their local market to donate their surplus, or run a fresh food drive.

Mother & Son Duo Take Over Community Plates New Haven: Locals Lori Martin and Caleb MartinMooney Head Up Food Rescue Operation And Expansion

We are excited to announce new leadership at our New Haven location. Local mother-son team Lori and Caleb Martin have taken over the reigns and will begin leading the New Haven team immediately.

Lori lives in New Haven with her husband and three of her four children. She said recently, “I am so excited to work with Community Plates! Rescuing fresh food to healthily feed my neighbors achieves my personal intention of expanding peace in our world. As a community organizer, I recognize that relationships propel movements forward. I look forward to creating relationships with new volunteer food runners, donor and partner agencies to abolish food insecurity in our area. I am particularly grateful to be working with my son Caleb on this project.”

Caleb Martin Mooney, 19 years old, said, “I have done other community service and service learning projects while growing up, and I am really enthusiastic about Community Plates and the work they do. I enjoy meeting and talking to the donors, volunteers and partner agencies. Good food has always been an important part of my life and my family’s life. In more recent years, I have become aware of the necessity of nutrition and the lack thereof in our society, so bringing fresh food to food insecure families is gratifying.”

Operating in New Haven since 2013, using innovative, breakthrough proprietary software application, our Community Plates’ volunteer food runners have rescued and delivered over 137,000 meals, saving over 200,000 pounds of food from landfill.

Founded in January 2011, Community Plates is committed to ending American food-insecurity through direct-transfer food rescue. Established as a 501(c)3 non-profit food-rescue platform, Community Plates is focused on transferring healthy, usable foods to where it can help feed those in need. This volunteer-driven, technology fueled process coordinates with restaurants, grocers, bakeries, caterers and other food-service organizations who have foods destined to be thrown away and delivers the food to soup-kitchens, food-pantries and other hunger relief organizations who serve food-insecure individuals and families.