Food Insecurity in the News: Food Bank Limitations, Eat Ugly, USDA Makes Food Center Stage

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


Food Recovery—Bridging the Gaps via NERC, Northeast Recycling Council

Retail food donation_edible manhattanThis issue is near and dear to us at Community Plates. Food banks are important, but they have limitations. This is why our direct transfer of fresh food is a critical piece to the food insecurity puzzle:

One thing that I recently became aware of is that many food banks do not collect from restaurants. Grocery stores often have nonperishable food—canned or packaged food—that can be donated if it nears its “sell by date.” Food Banks may also be able to accept produce and even baked goods from grocers. However, because most food banks usually act as distributors of nonperishable food to local food rescue organizations, such as soup kitchens, they typically do not handle smaller quantities of perishable food donations. Restaurants are more likely to have cooked, unserved food leftover.


Save the Planet – Eat Ugly via New York Times

The efficiencies in farming, packaging and transportation that could come from consuming such fruits and vegetables, instead of throwing them away, could eliminate one billion tons of carbon emissions a year, Mr. Chabanne contends, and save 210 million tons of food a year.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that a third of the world’s food fit for human consumption each year does not reach consumers.


Food waste: The big issue for 2016 via Nation’s Restaurant News

sweetgreen x Blue Hill - wastED Hero_0

Sweetgreen offered a WastED salad, developed in partnership with Blue Hill, in its New York restaurants.

Social issues, and the food trends that can emerge from them, often simmer beneath the surface of mainstream consciousness, quietly gestating among the interested few before bursting, almost fully formed, into the public eye.

I think in 2016 that issue will be food waste. And the food trends associated with that look to be more interesting than you might expect.


Hunger costs US extra $160bn a year to treat chronic illnesses – study via The Guardian

Hunger and malnutrition cost the United States an extra $160bn a year in the treatment of chronic health conditions, according to a report released to coincide with Thanksgiving that exposes the consequences of “food insecurity” among poorer American families.

The study, commissioned by Christian charity Bread for the World, is believed to be the first to apportion a share of the long-term costs of illnesses such as diabetes that are linked to a lack of access to affordable, nutritious food.


In Paris, the USDA Puts Food and Climate Change Center Stage via Civil Eats

shutterstock_climate_ag-680x390The government agency has released a new report assessing the impacts of climate change on global food security and the U.S. food system. It takes a detailed look at how—between now and the end of this century—the changing climate will affect farming and food distribution around the world. These impacts will touch virtually everything we eat, from grains to fresh produce, fish, meat and dairy products.

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.

IMG_20151124_092111674_TOP (1)

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.

Community Plates Albuquerque Exceeds Food Rescue Goal and Rescues Over One Million Meals

1.6 Million Pounds of Food Saved from Landfill and Delivered to those in Need
Program Continues to Increase Impact on Hunger in Albuquerque

Albuquerque, NM (November 3, 2015) Community Plates Albuquerque announced today that their food rescue operation has passed the one million meals rescued goal. Since 2012, using Community Plates’ breakthrough, proprietary technology, almost 150 volunteer food runners have directly transferred over one million meals to the Albuquerque area’s food insecure population.

Community Plates National Site Director Melissa Spiesman said, “We have stayed focused on our mission in Albuquerque and are so grateful to our food runners and food donors for their commitment to serving the people in need in their community.  We are looking to continue our impact and growth in Albuquerque, and are always looking for more food runners and additional food donors.”

Among the generous local food donors contributing to this notable milestone are
Albertson’s, Smith’s Food and Drug, Donut Mart and Einstein Brother’s Bagels.  Receiving partner agencies include Albuquerque Rescue Mission, Barrett Foundation, The Storehouse, Inc., Joy Junction and the Good Shepherd Center.

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 foodservice 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. They currently operate in seven US cities and are exploring launches in more cities in the next several months.

Partner Spotlight: La Soupe in Cincinnati, Ohio

Meet our Community Plates partners. These organizations, companies, restaurants and markets are part of our community dedicated to helping eliminate hunger in the U.S. 


Community Plates recently announced a partnership with La Soupe in Cincinnati, Ohio to grow our food rescue community and collaborate with La Soupe to reach the food insecure in this city using our technology.

La Soupe is growing! We have made incredible impact on hunger in our community with a relatively small number of partnerships with local grocers and growers. But if we can salvage ten times more food, we can feed ten times more people. And we can.

We are now engaged with the Community Plates app that opens the way for explosive growth. It’s a volunteer’s dream, making the task of food rescue simple, efficient and rewarding. What if Cincinnati was known as the city that transformed the way our entire nation addresses hunger and food waste? – Suzy, La Soupe

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

About: Motivated by community and impassioned by food, La Soupe works boldly as a non-profit to find solutions for hunger in Cincinnati. Headed by chef Suzy DeYoung, their rotating menu features pot-friendly entrees, croque du jour, therapeutic broths, and seasonal specialties. These delicious, nutrient-dense meals are distributed to customers and the food-insecure alike. With their network of supporters, they rescue roughly 1,000 pounds of produce per week and have fed 45,000 children to date.

Websitehttp://lasoupecincinnati.com/ or Volunteer with La Soupe

Follow on Facebookfacebook.com/La-Soupe

Community Plates Columbus Participates in 2015 Turkey Drive

 

TV Africa Network announced their collaboration with Mid-Ohio Foodbanks, InPrem Holistic Resources Center, First Choice Chiropractic, Community Plates, Pri-Value Foundation and Ambit Energy, a mission which is aimed at drawing awareness to and help ending hunger and malnutrition in the community by providing turkey meals this thanksgiving season.

The campaign themed 15 For Family will target the Northland and surrounding communities of Columbus in an effort to raise awareness of hunger and malnutrition. Even at this early stage, more than five organizations within Columbus, Ohio Area have pledged support to assist in the campaign.

Here in Central Ohio 1 in 6 Ohioans is struggling with hunger, thats 1 in 4 kids and everyone deserve to have good nourishing food to eat. Being able to have turkey which has protein – an important to a diet. why not have it on Thanksgiving as a family meal said Yolanda Owens from Mid-Ohio Foodbanks.

Susan Keiser-Smith Columbus site Director of Community Plates an organization that is dedicated to ending food insecurity through the direct transfer of nutritious foods in a communication said we have been working closely with Rev Alex Abrokwa-Clottey and the IHCRC food pantry. We are excited about the 15 for family campaign and will help in any way we can.

$15 will provide a decent meal for a family and we hope to feed 500 families in the community said Ernest Opuni, Director at TV Africa Network Ohio.

The final day for this campaign is Saturday November 21st, 2015 where the proceeds will be presented to people in the community in need. The location is InPrem Holistic Resource Center 5757 Karl Rd. Columbus, Ohio. 43229.

Interested parties can learn more about 15 For Family by visiting the website at www.15forfamily.com.

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World Food Day: Community Plates Toasts Our Farmers

What is World Food Day?

World Food Day is a day of action against hunger. On October 16, people around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime. Because when it comes to hunger, the only acceptable number in the world is zero.

#ToastAFarmer

This year’s World Food Day theme is #ToastAFarmer!

Community Plates would like to thank the following farms and farmers for your support as food donors in our fight against hunger. 

OHIO

  • Bluescreek Farm
  • Clintonville Farmers’ Marketing
  • Doran Farms
  • Jorgenson’s Farmst
  • New Albany Farmers’ Market
  • Rhodes Farms
  • Rock Dove Farms
  • The Glass Rooster
  • Two Crows
  • Worthington Farmers’ Market
  • The Dangling Carrot

CONNECTICUT

  • Ambler Farm
  • City Center Danbury Farmers’ Market
  • Feeny Farms
  • Millstone Farm
  • Rowayton Farmers’ Market
  • Sport Hill Farm

LOUISIANA

  • Grow Dat Youth Farms
  • New Orleans Food and Farm Network
  • Vetiver Farm