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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Check out all the food I recovered!!!!