Meet the Team: Christina Knudsen, Director of Development

CKnudsen

Hometown/Current City:

Darien, CT/Pittsburgh, PA

What is your role at Community Plates?

Director of Development

What’s on your desk?

Several empty coffee cups and about 1,000 post-it notes.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to cook and make a mess in the kitchen, and spend time with my husband, daughter, and very spoiled dog. I’m kind of a book nerd and read as much as my 10-month old daughter allows me to.

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

Hunger and food insecurity have always been issues that “bothered” me from a young age. I could never reconcile that so many people struggle just to find food with the wealth and overall food resources in this country. Food insecurity just doesn’t make sense in America today.

Who or what inspires you most?

Hermione Granger. Just kidding (sort of). That is a really hard question! I’m inspired by so many things- places I’ve traveled, music, books, friends, my parents, my husband and our faith – it would be tough to pick just one.

If there is one thing you recommend we could do to end hunger our communities, what would it be?

People tend to think about hunger at certain times of the year, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. But hunger is an every day problem. I’d recommend finding opportunities in your community to get engaged on an ongoing basis, whether as a volunteer, an advocate, or a donor – for example, at Community Plates, you can volunteer as a food runner whenever it fits your schedule. By just driving your car, hungry people will have access to healthy, fresh food!

An Update from Community Plates New Haven

 

Welcome New Food Donors

A great big welcome and THANK YOU to our newest New Haven food donors:

G Cafe Bakery, Ninth Square

Katalina’s Bakery

Upcoming Events

City Line Distributors Food Rescue: Tuesday- 10:30 am and 11:30 am Big food rescue from City Line Distributors West Haven!
18 pallets of food to be sent out to many partners. We need 16 food runners to meet and deliver food. Please register for the run, which is divided into two shifts, on the schedule.

New Food Runner Orientation: Thursday- 11:00 am United House of Prayer 500 Dixwell Ave. New Haven. Lots of free parking! We are creating a New Haven food rescue team to increase our impact in the New Haven area. This is an orientation for new folks, and an opportunity for food runners to meet. We will share rescue stories and tips. If you are interested in getting more involved- one possibility is to join our team for outreach, social media or events. Come to our meet and greet (and eat)!

If you live in Connecticut, please follow Community Plates New Haven on Facebook for the latest news and events from the New Haven area.

If you have any questions, or are interested in becoming a New Haven volunteer or donor, contact us.

Claneil Foundation Awards Emerging Leaders Fund Grant to Community Plates Executive Director Kevin Mullins

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Kevin Mullins, Community Plates Executive Director since 2011

We are thrilled to announce that the Claneil Foundation, a private family foundation based in Philadelphia, recently selected Executive Director Kevin Mullins and Community Plates as recipients of the Emerging Leaders Fund grant. Kevin was selected from a competitive pool of 75 nominations representing emerging organizations in the Mid Atlantic/New England Region. We will receive $200,000 in general operating funds over four years, and as the organization’s leader, Kevin will have access to up to $10,000 for professional development.

Kevin said, “This grant is important validation of all the energy so many have invested in establishing a new type of solution to American food insecurity. In addition, it is a real affirmation of our vision to end hunger in the United States through direct transfer food rescue. We are honored to be recognized alongside previous innovative leaders and organizations as well as our three other co-grantees this year.”

Recipients are selected based on their creative vision, leadership capacity, potential for impact, and commitment to innovation and learning in one or more of the Foundation’s interest areas. This grant program is focused primarily on early stage organizations located in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states.

Food Insecurity in the News: Starbucks Donates Unsold Food, College Students & Food Pantries, New Nutrition Labels

Our recent reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.


Starbucks Finally Starts To Donate All of Its Unsold Food via Forbes

960x0So Starbucks recently announced that they will be donating 100 percent of their unsold food to charity. They currently are testing out a program in San Diego. When Starbucks announced their intentions, the company stated that they expect to donate five million meals to individuals and families this year and plan to eventually – over the next five years – be doing this at all of its 7,600 locations in the United States. By 2021, they say, they’ll have given away 50 million free meals.


What You Need to Know About Sugar and Nutrition Labels via National Geographic

The outgoing Obama Administration signals its nutrition priorities by making it easier for consumers to watch their sugar intake.


Stamford college students benefit from campus pantry via Stamford Advocate

1024x1024Colleges and universities from Purdue to South Florida to Penn State now offer pantries where students who might otherwise go hungry can stock up on healthy food. The College and University Food Bank Alliance, a national coalition, represents 207 schools with pantries. Four of them are in Connecticut, with Norwalk the only one in the southwestern corner of the state.

Open five days a week, the NCC pantry is being discovered by a growing number of students who can visit twice a month to stock up on groceries and daily for a grab-and-go snack of fruit or a granola bar.


These entrepreneurs are using technology to turn a profit on food waste via Vox

food-waste.0Food waste is bad for our wallets. It’s also bad for the environment — the equivalent of throwing away the water, energy, and other resources that go into growing it in the first place. But as interest in reducing food waste grows, so does innovation to make it happen. Take a look at what some creative businesses are doing to turn trash into treasure.

Community Plates Columbus Party to Benefit Community Plates at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant on April 21

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On April 21 from 5:30pm-8:30pm, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (401 N. Front Street), will host a Keg Tapping Party to benefit Community Plates. There is no charge for admission, but please register for the event. 10% of all proceeds will go to Community Plates Columbus and of course we will be accepting donations, so bring your friends and family!

Reserve Tickets

There will be live music by the band Stone Soup, passed appetizers and a ceremonial keg tapping at 6:30 pm. The featured seasonal beer is the strong, German lager Maibock, traditionally considered an annual rite of spring. Gordon Biersch partners with non-profits for their tapping parties because they believe it is important to give back to the community and we couldn’t be more grateful to be their partner this time around!

We have some amazing gift baskets for auction, including pizza for a year from Donato’s, a North Market basket with packages from Hot Chicken Takeover, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Shadow Box Live table for eight, a private craft cocktail class for ten at Curio, and much more. Many local restaurants and bakeries have donated $50-$100 gift cards and Community Plates will have t-shirts for sale, along with a 50/50 raffle.

This will be a great opportunity to meet fellow food runners, especially some of the 160 new runners who signed up this month! I hope too see all of you there.

Getting to Know: Community Plates in Hartford, CT

Facts & Figures

  • Year Founded: 2015

  • Meals Rescued: 97,200

  • Food Runners 67

  • Food Donors: 25


Meet MACC Charities, Our Community Plates Partner in Hartford, CT

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Meaghan Sprague, MACC Charities at Unity Farm Machester

Since we signed on with Community Plates in October, the food rescue program has done wonders for the MACC Charities Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen. Our goal when we started was to offer our clients healthier wholesome options, and in just a few short months we were able to accomplish that goal. Our pantry shelves are full of fresh produce, bread, baked items, small milks, and yogurts.

Not only has our “Food Rescue” program improved the quality of food that we are able to offer our clients but it also has saved MACC a lot of money. Because of our daily donations of different meats and proteins our organization has not had to order meat since November. On several occasions we have not had to order milk for the week because one of our community partners donates half gallons of milk.

This program is quick, easy, and makes a huge difference in the lives of the people we serve!

– Meaghan Sprague, Community Engagement Manager, MACC Charities


About MACC Charities

Part of the core mission at MACC Charities is to feed those who are hungry and provide healthy food to those facing food insecurity. They do this through “Kitchen On Main” lunch program, Community Pantry, mobile & satellite pantries, and outreach to local elementary school children, families and the homeless in our community.

“Food Rescue” is the process by which MACC is able to do much of their work. Leveraging technology that allows 24/7 communication, volunteers transport excess, usable food from local restaurants, retailers and farmers to MACC on a daily basis. The food that we “rescue” gets distributed in our pantries, Grab n Go program, and used creatively in our kitchen.

Visit http://macc-ct.org/.


 

Meet A Few Hartford Area Food Donors

Shady Glen, Manchester, CT (our newest food donor, welcome!

Unity Farm, Manchester, CT

Whole Foods in Glastonbury, CT 

Villa Louisa in Bolton, CT 

Big Fish Pro 

Shop Rite Manchester

 


News Community Plates collects surplus food for pantries, other aid agencies, via The Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Dispatch recently profiled our efforts in Columbus, Ohio, interviewing food runners and our site director for the city:

Once a week, Mike and Laurie Hawkins hop in their car and head out on a mission to rescue wayward pastries, loaves of bread, soup bones and meat.

“It’s a good use of our time,” Mrs. Hawkins said as she and her husband pushed a cart piled high with food around the North Market on Thursday. “And it gets the job done.”

The Clintonville couple are food runners for Community Plates, a nonprofit organization that uses an app and volunteer initiative to intercept surplus items that might otherwise add to the staggering amount of the nation’s food supply that goes uneaten.

Read the full article on The Columbus Dispatch.

Getting to Know: Community Plates in Fairfield County, Connecticut

 


Facts & Figures

  • Year Founded: 2011

  • Meals Rescued: 8,042,750

  • Food Runners 315

  • Food Donors: 46


What Our Fairfield County Volunteers Have to Say

“The 30 minutes I spend doing a food run are more rewarding and fulfilling than the hours I spend at my 9-5 job.

– Sam Mauro, Community Plates Volunteer Food Runner in Fairfield County, CT

I volunteer try to to make a difference for the better in other people’s lives and to remind myself that we are all connected together. Bottom line: good intentions don’t change the world, people do.

– Kate Albrecht, Community Plates Site Director for Fairfield County 

b.good has always wanted the communities we are in to be better because we are there. We think that connecting our customers to volunteer opportunities with Community Plates and providing a tangible means of addressing food insecurity in our community is a particularly impactful way of doing just that. We hope you’ll join us in signing up for a food run this March! Post a photo of your run with the hashtag #bgooddoesgood and we’ll send you a free b.good meal of your choice to thank you for your service.

– Allie Kroner, Community Development Director, b.good  and Executive Director, b.good Family Foundation

I love rescuing food because I know that if my life circumstances had been a little bit different, I could have been the one in need.

– Kevin Mullins, Community Plates Executive Director


Meet 3 Fairfield County Food Donors

Fleishers Craft Butchery

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 8.38.07 AMFleishers and Craft Butchery (Westport, CT) joined forces in support of one mission: to produce better tasting meat that’s better for their customers, their farmers and the land they share.

Craft Butchery, founded in 2011 by former Fleishers apprentices Paul Nessel and Ryan Fibiger, has led the most recent charge of local butcher shops creating industry-wide change in the way that we produce and consume meat.

Mrs. Greens_-uv3wIl_400x400

Mrs Greens has been an active donor to Community Plates for over two years, providing fresh, organic produce, dairy, bakery items, and much more each week.

Our goal is to educate and inspire our customers to eat well and live a good, healthy lifestyle.

Whole Foods, Danbury, CT

h9-UkNZv_400x400This northern Fairfield County location has been a great partner for Community Plates and pivotal in helping us make an impact in food insecurity in the greater Danbury area.

 

 

 


Meet Kate Albrecht, Community Plates Fairfield County Site Director

12313701_814884285301608_6988824114803624401_nWhat 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.

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.

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.

 

Read the full profile