One thing that is a little bit different about our food-rescue platform is that often our food-runners aren’t able to hear from and connect much with the people who actually benefit from their food-rescue activities. Since the food is directly transferred to agencies who already do such a good job serving food-insecure individuals and families, it’s possible to get a little disconnected from the real difference all of this driving and picking up and transferring and dropping off makes.
So recently we’ve been reaching out to the 13 agencies (as of February 2012) we currently serve in order to find out how we’re doing. Because we’re not in the food-rescue business to build a large non-profit; we’re not in it to be recognized for being good people doing good things; the only reason we all do what we do is because we really believe that food-rescue can end food-insecurity in the US.
There’s more than enough food to go around and there’s more than enough passionate, generous people to transfer that food. After 9 months of food-rescue we have confirmed those two statements to be true.
But is it making a difference?
Within the past couple of weeks two different conversations from two different Executive Directors at two agencies we serve helped answer that question.
Recently in a conversation with Debbie Stokes the food-pantry director of the St. Stephen’s food pantry in Bridgeport, CT. She let us know that because of Community Plates they are able to send their clients home with much more variety than ever before, and that they are all especially excited about the fresh fruits and vegetables. In a recent communication she went on to say “Let me share this exciting news with you. Last week when we opened most of the produce went right away. We had very little left the next day. But here is the best part; folks loved the food we had! I was so thrilled. We let the guests pick their fruit and produce just as if they were in the grocery store…it’s really making a difference in the lives of our guests.”
She went on to pass on some actual comments from individuals who access their food pantry:
“This is the best variety we’ve ever had!”
“This is very good for diabetics.” (This comment from a diabetic who was excited about the fresh foods)
“We love the fresh fruit and produce! Fruit is so expensive in the store.”
Another amazing partner of ours is Christian Community Action in Norwalk, CT. CCA is directed by Christi Pope and her statement regarding the importance of Community Plate’s activity though more simple was just as powerful. Christi said “now that we receive two deliveries a week from Community Plates we are able to send our clients home on average with one full extra bag of food.”
We’ll be having more conversations all the time and we’ll make sure to keep everyone in the loop on how things are going.
But for now…
Food-rescue heroes: food donors, food-runners, food-distribution partners; what you are doing matters in a real way.