Happy 2017 Food Rescue Community!

Best wishes for a fresh and healthy 2017!

Thank you to the 300 restaurants, grocers, and farmers markets; 120 shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries; and to our volunteers and 10 national sites that make up this wonderful and growing food rescue community.

We look forward to our most impactful year with you yet!

Happy Holidays From Our Family to Yours

Friends,

Kevin_webIt’s kind of mind-boggling what all of you accomplished this year. Now that we’re tallying up this year’s food rescue effort, it adds up to more than 5 million meals rescued and delivered to people who need access to fresh food in the US. 5 MILLION MEALS! And I’m saying you did this because if you rescued, donated, or distributed food through Community Plates this year, you made it happen. Those of you who were able to support us financially also played an invaluable part in this 2016 success. So to all of the individual “you’s”…thank you for your passion, compassion and generosity.

In 2017 our vision is to be everywhere you are. To some degree, we always have been but stay tuned for some news early in the new year that will make it clear where we are going together (spoiler alert: it’s everywhere.)

On behalf of everyone at Community Plates, our best wishes for the Warmest and Happiest Holiday Season.

Food For All,

Kevin

Kevin Mullins
Co-founder/Executive Director, Community Plates

Meet the Team: Nicole Straight, Fairfield County Site Director

 

Hometown/Current City:
Los Gatos, CA/ Westport, CT

What is your role at Community Plates?
Fairfield County Site Director.

What’s on your desk?
I don’t use a desk, I do everything on mobile so I can work anywhere.  I’m sitting on the couch at the moment!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m an avid poker player and have been playing for the past 10 years. I love to listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk podcasts among many others. I’m also a self proclaimed music nerd and dream of dj’ing, but I get too tired after 10:00 pm…

How/when did you first become inspired around issues of American food insecurity?
I’ve worked in the food industry for the past 15 years, and have always been shocked at how much food gets thrown away while prepping.  It’s always been a source of frustration that chefs didn’t creatively repurpose the scraps, it would feed so many hungry people.

Who or what inspires you most?
I have been practicing Buddhism for the past 13 years, and am always inspired by the wisdom and gentleness of Sharon Salzberg and Pema Chodron.

If there is one thing you recommend we could do to end hunger our communities, what would it be?
Slow down.  We are all so consumed with our own “busyness” that we forget to slow down and notice people.  You’d be surprised how taking just a little time to give a little service can help so many people.  It also feels really good.  We don’t have to do these big global things to help,  choosing to take one small action of giving service, really does make a very big difference.

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!

Donate Today

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.

 

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!

aa18b4c3-958e-4adc-9c76-94a929d0ab96

Kitchen Crawl Tickets

e5a402e3-52c7-408a-a67f-74a8e32f75bb

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.
_______________

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.