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.

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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.

Seeking the Key Member of the New Orleans Food Rescue Team

 

Position Overview

Community Plates is a non-profit food rescue organization growing nationally to address the problem of food insecurity. While the organization strives to solve our national hunger problem, our work happens locally. The Local Site Director (LSDir) is our eyes, ears, arms, legs and heart on the ground in a specific local market. The food rescue efforts in each market will grow depending on the LSDir’s work and outreach in the community. This is a part-time position with a modest monthly stipend for the weekly 15-20 hours required to fulfill the job responsibilities.

Competencies, Skills and Experience Required

Leadership Ability

  • Creates and communicates an inspiring vision and common purpose that motivates others to take action

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

  • Ability to motivate people to action in written and verbal communication
  • Concise and timely information delivery to a diverse population
  • Ability to communicate objectives and systems clearly and effectively to potential partners
  • Ability to find common ground with a variety of people; values all types of people and treats them equitably and with compassion
  • Builds rapport; is warm, gracious, and easy to approach
  • Encourages collaboration and teamwork

Computer Savvy

  • Proficient in Microsoft office
  • Ability to learn specific applications relevant to Site Director responsibilities

Organizational Skills

  • Ability to manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously; efficiently and creatively use resources (financial and personnel)
  • Can organize people and activities to meet desired objectives; anticipates and adjusts for problems; evaluates progress to stated goals
  • Goal oriented; sets priorities and assigns responsibilities and resources to get the job done
  • Ability to organize and motivate a population of volunteers to achieve best results
  • Monitors the process and sees opportunities for growth and improvement; eliminates roadblocks for others

Initiative

  • Focused on continuous improvement, ability to identify inefficiencies and improve processes as opportunities arise
  • Self-sufficient and goal oriented; the director needs to be able to set their own goals and objectives
  • Action-oriented and makes plans with minimal direction
  • Driven to achieve results and is creative with resources (people, funding, materials and support
  • Accepts challenges and seizes opportunities

Priorities and Responsibilities

  • Building an internal team to address marketing, fundraising, social media, events and administration
  • Ensuring scheduled food runs are covered by your volunteer network
  • Recruiting a volunteer network and keeping volunteers engaged in the organization’s mission through emails and events
  • Recruiting and establishing relationships with food donors to secure their commitment and to determine the best days/times to rescue food
  • Building relationships with receiving agencies and determining their food needs
  • Communicating regularly with the volunteers, donors and agencies regarding the importance and the impact of their efforts
  • Communicate with volunteers on difficulties and follow-up with them on outstanding runner notes
  • Identify and pursue fundraising opportunities to support the operational capacity of the organization in your community
  • Creating and managing the food rescue schedule for food runs that meets the needs of donors and agencies and can be staffed by volunteers
  • Communicating activities and needs to the National Office
  • Building an internal team to address marketing, fund raising, social media,events and administration
  • Being a champion of the Community Plates mission in your community and continually searching out opportunities for improvement and advancement

Primary Contacts

National Site Director

Your primary support for achieving your local goals is the National Site Director who is available to assist with anything you need from the National Office to be successful at the local level. You will communicate with the NSDir as needed, provide a written, bi-monthly “flash report”, and participate in a monthly conference call with the NSDir and all other Local Site Directors.

Local Food Donors and Receiving Agencies

Communication with food donors and receiving agencies as needed to ensure their food donation and receiving needs are being met. Ad hoc communication to resolve issues.

Local Volunteer Food Runners

Ongoing communication with food runners to ensure engagement and excitement for the food rescue mission. Daily/ weekly/ as needed communication with volunteers to ensure open runs are covered.

Local Community Plates Team Members

In order for a local site to grow into a vibrant, healthy, and autonomous Community Plates location, every Site Director must build a team of people to help carry out the responsibilities inherent to a local site. There are 5 “Hats” that must be worn by every site: PR/Marketing, Fundraising, Social Media, Events Planning, Administration. As your site grows, you will want to find volunteers to fulfill these roles, i.e.: wear these Hats.

About Community Plates

Community Plates is committed to ending American food insecurity by directly transferring fresh, usable food that would have otherwise been thrown away from restaurants, markets and other food industry sources to food-insecure families throughout the U.S. Community Plates exists to provide meals to food-insecure individuals, plain and simple. We diligently pursue this mission, and strive to have our work reflect our values of community, passion, creativity, simplicity, and gratitude.

 

How to Apply: To apply, send cover letter and resume to opportunities@communityplates.org. Please include “New Orleans Site Director” in the subject line.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

This week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, sponsored by National Coalition for the Homeless, a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to preventing and ending homelessness.

This social awareness movement is near and dear to our hearts at Community Plates as many of of our partner agencies in Connecticut, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Ohio provide support and resources for the homeless and directly benefit from our fresh food rescue and delivery.

If we can help your organization’s clients thrive with regular donations of fresh food, please let us know! Or become a food donor or volunteer food runner.

To get involved in this effort in your community, visit the National Coalition for the Homeless website and find an event near you.

NHHAW

#NHHAW Events by State

About National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, people take time to consider what they’re thankful for and donate some of their time, attention and resources to others. In the spirit of thankfulness and giving, each year the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness designate the week prior to Thanksgiving to sponsor the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Last year during this week, more than 750 high schools, colleges, community groups and faith-based groups from cities across the United States came together to bring awareness to pressing issues: hunger and homelessness. As NCH enters its fourth decade, we seek to finish the long and difficult road to ending homelessness by solving the root causes of homelessness.