From the Driver’s Seat: Honoring Those Who Served

Our MetroWest Driver, Anthony Summa, reflects on Veterans Day.

 

Working as a food rescue driver for Lovin’ Spoonfuls, I have been able to collaborate with numerous organizations benefiting a wide spectrum of individuals and causes, a major one being veterans assistance. Polling of the agencies we support in the Greater Boston area shows that 65 percent of them currently serve veterans, which gives me great pride, especially with Veterans Day approaching. The statistics surrounding the issue are staggering, with roughly 11 percent of the country’s homeless population being veterans, the majority of which are suffering from mental health issues and/or substance abuse issues. On top of these concerns, many veterans return stateside having to cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and often with little family support and skills that don’t often transfer to civilian life. All of these factors create a situation where those who risked their lives for our country can end up without a home, not knowing where their next meal will come from.

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On the MetroWest route we are able to donate food to Safe Haven, a housing program run by the Bedford VA which helps to “ensure that veterans who have fallen on hard times will not fall through the cracks of VA housing programs”. Safe Haven has 10 rooms and houses veterans who are chronically homeless and who experience issues with mental health or substance abuse. In most VA housing programs, if a resident returns to substance abuse they are discharged and often have nowhere else to go. At Safe Haven, the requirements are a little more lenient, but drug possession/use is restricted from the premises and residents must meet with a case manager on a weekly basis to discuss future housing goals. The program serves as a safe and healthy environment where these veterans can start making better life and health decisions and get themselves back on the right foot, thus improving their quality of life.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to help these guys who may be down on their luck but are genuinely great people. That being said, there are a number of other ways you and I can give back to this over-represented group among the homeless population. The Boston VA has volunteer opportunities in Brockton, West Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain ranging from helping at events or bingo nights, to volunteering to drive vans to ensure veterans get to their medical appointments. The New England Center and Home for Veterans is located in Boston and works to give “veterans who are facing or at-risk of homelessness with the tools for economic self-sufficiency and to provide them a path to achieve successful and dignified independent living.” They run a gift-a-vet program in which you can donate gift cards which provide veterans with much-needed provisions for the holiday season and beyond.

Building Homes for Heroes is a non-profit which builds or modifies homes which are gifted, mortgage-free, to men and women who were injured during their service. The organization also has programs including financial planning services, family funding and emergency support, intended to help these injured veterans plan for their future. You can assist Building Homes for Heroes by volunteering your time or donating materials or equipment, or hosting a fundraising event.

However you choose to help out, make sure to thank each and every veteran you see this year, they are the ones who risked their lives to protect the freedoms we take for granted every single day.

Thank You for an Incredible 6th Annual Ultimate Tailgate Party!

We are thrilled to report that the 2016 Ultimate Tailgate Party was our most successful fundraiser yet. Your support helped us raise more than $250,000! It was a spectacular end to a record breaking week, which marked the rescue and distribution of our 5,000,000th pound of food. Bravo to EVERYONE!

On Sunday evening we welcomed more than 500 supporters to the Black Falcon Terminal at Boston’s Cruiseport for our 6th annual event. We also welcomed our sponsors, Dorothy PuhyBMO Capital Markets, Credit SuisseKPMGPwCBlue Cross Blue ShieldPeterson Party CenterMS Walker, Peak Organic, Boston Common Magazine, Jamestown, Cafco, and Winston Flowers!  We also had a record number of volunteers this year, all of whom were amazing and spirited – we thank you all.

Our incredible Co-Chairs for the second year in a row, Andy & Mariann Youniss of Wellesley, led a tremendous and spirited Host Committee. Andy is the CEO of Rocket Software, and sits on our Board of Directors – and Mariann has continued to get more involved with our work. Andy welcomed everyone and remains our best example of what it means to ‘make it personal’ – and get involved. Our COO (and one of Boston Business Journal’s 2016 40 Under 40 honorees) Lauren Palumbo, proudly and passionately spoke about the year’s operational milestones, and inspired the crowd to get to know who we are, and why our model works.

Our VIP celebration closed with a touching video honoring our friend and Culinary Board member Jamie Bissonnette with the 2016 Thomas M. Menino Award for Leadership. I was honored to present him with this year’s recognition:

“We honor our friend and late Mayor’s life and legacy with this award. It recognizes those who hold the same ideals that he did – ideals that connect service, community and food. Tonight, we proudly honor Jamie Bissonnette.”

We were lucky enough to have Filmmaker Jon Mercer produce this incredible tribute piece to Jamie, with cameos from Will Gilson, Louis DiBiccari, Joanne Chang, Christopher Myers, Ken Oringer, and Andrew Zimmern.

As attendees enjoyed food from incredible chefs and restaurants from Providence up to Portland, TJ Connelly spun the party soundtrack of the year, and the team at Offsite served up cocktails featuring Maker’s 46, Basil Hayden, and Knob Creek Rye. Our silent auction scrolled on screens throughout the space as folks tried to outbid each other on trips to Cabo San Lucas, Bermuda, Nantucket and Los Angeles, rare wine lots and unique dining experiences.

After another short video about our work, Ming Tsai introduced Andrew Zimmern to the crowd – and our favorite emcee brought the house down with an emotional plea for food justice, and for support on our behalf. We raised more than $50k in just a few minutes, and ended by auctioning off signed Gronk and Brady jerseys, and a football signed by Tom Brady!

Each truck we put on the road rescues 400,000 lbs of fresh, healthy food each year – and we keep them on the road with your support. Follow along on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook as we post photos from the party in the coming days.

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Lovin’ Spoonfuls launches #HowiRescue!

Food waste is a problem. A BIG problem.

Currently, 40 percent of all food in the USA goes to waste, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in energy and environmental resources lost, and pollution-causing methane emitting from food waste in landfills. Yet one in seven Americans does not know where their next meal is coming from. It’s a big disconnect, and one that we’re working to change at Lovin’ Spoonfuls by rescuing fresh, healthy food that would otherwise be discarded, and transporting it directly to community organizations that feed hungry people.

But, food rescue is only one part of the solution. It’s up to us as a society to be conscious of the impact that food waste has on our community, our country, and our planet — and do our part to make a difference. Today, we’re launching our #HowiRescue campaign to create a conversation around food waste and encourage everyone to take simple steps to cut back on food waste at home. Think #HowiFall or #HowiSummer — but with a mission.

To participate, simply snap a photo of your efforts and share on social media with the hashtag #HowiRescue and tag us, @lovinspoonfuls (Instagram) or @lovinfoodrescue (Twitter) or on Facebook. If you need a little inspiration, here are a few helpful tips to get you going:

1.) Get It On Paper  

How often do you really waste food at home? Most people only have a vague idea at best because, let’s face it, we try not to think about it. But being aware of what you actually need and what you toss is the first step in changing for the better. Lists are your friend. For a week, take notes on the food you’re throwing away and why. Did a piece of fruit go bad? Did you get full before finishing your dinner? Then, use that information to make a new plan. Take the time to map out your meals for the week, and hit the grocery store with a list of only the things you need. With a little planning, you can cut down the food you toss by a whole lot.

2.) Embrace “Ugly” Produce

We are conditioned in our society to seek out the most perfect looking produce on the shelves (founder Ashley Stanley has more to say about that here). But that mentality is one of the biggest reasons why grocery stores and farm stands throw away perfectly good fruits and veggies every day! Though that funky looking tomato might not be as photogenic as its symmetrical counterparts, it’s certainly just as healthy. So start adding produce of all shapes, sizes, and colors to your shopping cart!

3.) Put Some Thought In Your Portions

There’s something satisfying about filling up your plate with delicious food. But that’s short-lived if half of it ends up in the trash at the end of your meal. Do a quick check in before serving yourself or ordering at a restaurant to make sure you’re only taking what you need. And keep in mind that splitting with a friend or saving your leftovers is always an option!

4.) Find Creative Uses for Leftovers and “Extra” Ingredients

We love leftovers as much as anyone, but four nights in a row of leftover spaghetti and meatballs can get boring, no matter how now noble your intentions are. Instead, seek out creative recipes that transform your leftovers into something new (spaghetti pizza? Yeah, that’s totally a thing). Likewise, try and use every part of the produce you have on hand. Beet and turnip greens can be used in a smoothie, citrus peels can be candied, and plenty of produce ‘extras’ can be used for veggie broth.

5.) Store Food Properly

Proper storage can add anywhere from a few days to several months to the lifespan of your food, making it easier for you to actually use everything you buy. Check out this helpful guide to learn where, how, and how long to store staple ingredients.

6.) Take Expiration Dates With A Grain of Common Sense Salt

Expiration and sell by dates are how food manufacturers’ communicate when they think a product will taste best, not whether or not it’s safe to consume. When properly stored, many types of food are still perfectly good to eat days, even weeks, past their sell-by dates. Rather than going by expiration dates, use this site as handy guide to help you find out how long your food will stay fresh.

7.) Take Action

Support our work by sponsoring the food we rescue, volunteering for one of our beneficiaries, or spreading the word about Lovin’ Spoonfuls to the markets you shop. Check out our volunteer guide to learn more about getting involved!

We can’t wait to see how you rescue!

 

BBJ Recognizes ‘Spoonfuls COO Lauren Palumbo

We are so proud to share that our COO, Lauren Palumbo, has been named to the Boston Business Journal‘s 2016 ‘40 Under 40‘ class! We are thrilled she is being recognized in such great company, and we love working with her every day! Read the full story here.

Meet Deb!

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Deb Hicks joined our team as a Food Rescue Driver in July 

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I first learned about LS when I saw their job posting on Idealist.org. I was immediately intrigued by the work they did and impressed by their team’s very informed perspectives on food-related issues. For me the most important thing about a job is being part of a strong, supportive, forward-thinking community, as well as feeling like the work itself is making a positive impact on this world. I’m so glad I found Lovin’ Spoonfuls!

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
A typical work day starts with a nice bike ride through Harvard and across the Charles to LS headquarters. There I meet with whichever colleague I’m riding or driving with for the day, usually sometime between 8 and 8:30am. Since most of us arrive around the same time, we enjoy a few minutes of friendly banter while making coffee or preparing our bags for the day’s haul. Once we’ve checked our respective vehicles, we’re off! Each day is unique, as our partners vary according to scheduling, availability of or need for product, etc. It’s nice to ride or drive with a different colleague almost every day, as I get to spend time with not only each of them, but I also get to interact with many different partners!

I would say that the biggest difference between my job and the average truck driver (without having ever been one…) is likely the culture and attitude around well-being that is cultivated at LS. The work of a truck driver can be taxing, given time spent sitting and driving, heavy lifting, and (ofttimes) long hours that could lead to poor diet habits. I’ve only been with LS for a month, but have already seen that they continuously strive to avoid and counteract each of these potential hazards of the job.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
The other week Reggie and I did a pickup at Volante Farms, and on top of a box of produce was a branch of lychees. I have eaten lychees before, but never seen them on a branch! They were beautiful!

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
I’m new to the Boston area and typically travel on two wheels, so I don’t know stations too well yet. However, I do like to listen to Democracy Now! at noon on WZBC 90.3, and who could leave out Jacob’s CDs!

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I guess so. It would be pretty bad if I didn’t know a thing or two after living in Italy for years!

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Some produce from my most recent visit to Haymarket, a few different types of olives and cheese, eggs, butter…and then there’s Ben and Jerry’s and When Pigs Fly in the freezer!

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
I used to love making submarine sandwiches with my dad. He would buy at least half a dozen loaves of Italian bread, a bunch of deli meats and cheeses, and toppings. We would set up a type of assembly line to make the subs, layering ingredient after ingredient. All the while our dog, Lucy, would hang around in the kitchen. Every now and then dad would “accidentally” throw a piece of meat over his shoulder for Lucy…a gesture I thoroughly enjoyed because it was so blatantly against house rules. Only he could bend them. Most of the subs would end up at his work the following day, but we would enjoy our personal subs for dinner those evenings!

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
Definitely. I have been thinking a lot about my own aesthetic pickiness when purchasing produce. Despite avoiding some “perfect” looking produce like the plague (Red Delicious apples, for example), I’m certainly guilty of denying food a place in my basket, and hence, plate. Since we “vote” with our purchases at the supermarket, by avoiding “bad-looking” good food, we are essentially abetting a culture of food waste.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
The North End. But I’m partial. There are so many great places in Boston I have yet to explore! (However, I do really like to buy olives and cheeses and the occasional loaf of bread at Salumeria Italiana on Richmond St.)

What is your motto?
“Live simply so that others may simply live.” -Gandhi. It’s something I aspire to.

Who are your heroes?
My Gran. She has such a good heart. Not a day passes that she dedicates to herself. Not to mention she’s an amazing cook…at Christmas alone she literally makes thousands of cookies!

Amy Goodman is also one of my heroes. This world could benefit from more impartial and more in-depth journalism. She is an inspiration!

Meet Vinny!

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Vinny Vassallo joined our team in July as a Food Rescue Driver

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I heard about Lovin’ Spoonfuls on the radio (when food is involved, everything has my extra attention). I was impressed by the work they do at the time, but hadn’t thought about them again until I saw they were hiring. I did more research into the company, and was not only impressed by all the good that is done here, but all the positive things I heard about the company and the people. I’m still amazed and happy that they hired me and am excited about all my days with Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
A typical day sees me picking up food with my co-workers from our generous vendors, and distributing it to our beneficiaries, which is the most rewarding part. Seeing and hearing how the food we are bringing is making a difference in the communities I grew up in and around is so great. While navigating the roads and streets of the Greater Boston Area is something that I share with a trucker, this job is so much more than picking up and dropping off.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
We once picked up a box of horned melons, also known as the blowfish fruit. It looks exactly like you would imagine it.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
When I’m in their signal area, I listen to 91.5 WMFO, Tufts radio, or my iPod.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
Yeah, they do. I’ve been cooking for others since I was very young. Others tell me my signature recipes are my pasta e fagioli and my stuffed artichokes, but I feel like my rigatoni with broccoli rabe is my best dish.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Yogurt,  Cabot cheese, sour cream, cranberry juice, Coke, whole milk, blueberries, cucumbers, maple syrup, fig preserves.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
On Christmas Eve, our family would celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes. While my family was preparing dinner, my sister and I would go into my Grandparent’s basement and take out the live lobsters to play with them. We would pick our favorite one, name them, and write their names on their elastic bands, that way we could find them once they had been cooked. We would then eat our new pet lobsters. I don’t think we realized how bizarre it was until we were older.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?

Definitely. After this job, I took stock of every food item in my kitchen, and have really been attempting to monitor expiring food and use what I have before it goes to waste. Just seeing all the pounds of food that we save and the good it does makes me think before anything gets close to my own trash barrel.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
The North End in July and August. There are feasts almost every weekend during the summer, and the streets are full of locals eating oysters and fried food.

What is your motto?
You don’t win friends with salad.

Who are your heroes?
Sterling Hayden

From The Driver’s Seat: Rescuing Nutrition

Cathy Pedtke, one of our Drivers, talks about the nutritional impact of the food we deliver.


Tess3 DriverSince I started driving with Lovin’ Spoonfuls, I have encountered some skeptics of the work I do. People can glance at the surface, at a line outside a pantry or a single person with a cardboard sign, and think “They don’t look like they’re starving.” And it’s difficult for me to explain that hunger and malnutrition look different than they have in the past: this hunger doesn’t stem from war, depression, or major drought. There is no shortage of food. 99¢ cheeseburgers are accessible to all, but healthy food –real food- is often physically or financially out of reach.

Many of the people I serve every day through our partners are battling both hunger and obesity simultaneously. How can you possibly be going hungry while gaining weight? Simple: the foods that are most affordable, easiest to access and prepare, are empty calories. Highly processed, heavy on fat, sugar, and salt, while often lacking the protein, fiber, and other nutrients that help you feel full and satisfied. Calories are cheap, but a balanced nutritious diet isn’t. Fresh produce, especially when organic and local, is the most nutritious part of any meal, providing a multitude of micronutrients that keep us healthy and prevent disease in countless ways. The micronutrients in a balanced diet are also an essential part of childhood development, and malnutrition early in life can have a life-long impact. But fresh produce is also the most expensive, the most time consuming to prepare (if you even have a kitchen to prepare it in), and the quickest to spoil. It’s often the expensive part of that equation that is the most deterrent, especially when working with an over-stretched budget or limited SNAP funds. Even I shy away from the organic raspberries and farmer’s market carrots when faced with much cheaper and less satisfying alternatives. ($5 for a pint of berries? Half of them will probably grow mold before I eat them. I could buy 3 boxes of raspberry pop-tarts for that price!)

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This is why I’m most excited to load fresh produce onto my truck. Whether it’s organic bananas from Whole Foods, peppers and eggplant from Russo’s, or locally grown collards from one of our farm partners, I’m not counting calories- I’m counting all the other nutrients that will now reach mouths and bodies that might not have been able to access them otherwise. Those bananas mean fiber, potassium, and natural sugars could be replacing processed sugar and artificial flavors in a smoothie, instead of a milk shake. Fresh peppers and eggplants mean more fiber and vitamins A, B, and C are getting added to someone’s plate. Collards are an oft-overlooked source of calcium and iron. So for those who ask whether the food I collect gets to people who really need it, my answer is a resounding yes. Everyone needs the nutrition and variety that fresh produce provides, and everyone deserves access to a healthy diet. And since I know the food I rescue gets to those who need it fast (often the very same day), those nutrients will be landing on someone’s plate, instead of in the garbage.

Meet Jacob!

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Jacob Matz (right) joined our team in May as a Food Rescue Driver.

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I came to Lovin’ Spoonfuls after working as a research assistant in environmental sociology and studying environmental health at a local university. In rural and urban communities most exposed to industrial contamination, food access is also a significant environmental health concern. I was studying social and health problems related to energy extraction in Appalachia, a region shaped by outside influences that have left many communities without access to healthy foods. My focus was energy, but food access, and particularly lack of access in the middle of a country with so much abundance, was always in the back of my mind. While I love sociology, I decided to make a change and work outside of academics.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
I usually start off going to a string of grocery stores. I back up to the dock and try to get in and out as quickly as possible in order to stay on schedule and to stay out of the way of all the food coming in off the big trucks into the stores. I inspect all of the food that is donated to make sure it is 100% safe. My job is not completely different from the average truck driver. I spend time avoiding “no truck” roads and working on loading docks. However, we are also part of a wide network of groups and individuals dedicated to distributing free food across the greater Boston area. My job is to build and maintain relationships and deliver food that makes sense – food that’s culturally-appropriate and can work for each organization’s respective mission, whether they run a pantry or an after-school program.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
I’ve had a fair amount of lesser-eaten meats like rabbit and buffalo. People always seem both excited and intrigued to cook with these. One of the first things I delivered was a 50lb bag of raw hulled sunflower seeds. While these items might seem strange, they are probably some of the historically longest-eaten foods in North America.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
Driving a truck has given me an excuse to collect CDs again. I’ve had an old stack of blank CD-Rs for at least five years that I thought I would never get to use, but my truck only plays CDs, so I’m burning through them quickly. I’ve most recently been listening to Angel Olsen, Fugazi, and the Modern Lovers. Johnathan Richman is by far the most appropriate thing to listen to while driving around Boston, Massachusetts. I also try to listen to Democracy Now! when I’m within range of Boston College’s 90.3, but I’m often just a bit too far away.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
They consider my food edible. I’m pretty good at making bean salads, hummus, and egg dishes. I’m also not bad at cooking fish.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
You would find greens, cabbage, zucchini, green onions, yogurt, beets, and lots of bean and rice salad and lentil-based leftovers. Hummus. Cheese.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
My favorite food memory is sitting outside and cracking blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay with my family.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
This job has made me respect and value food in a different way than I did in the past. I try not to waste food. My freezer has become 35% vegetable scraps to use for broth – this has the added benefit of reducing fruit flies.

I don’t see food access and food waste as only an individual problem. While consumption habits can be changed, this work has shown me that both food waste and a lack of access are very much built into a systemic logic that needs to be addressed. I think Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ model can work to address this structural problem.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
I love Allston. Whole Heart Provisions is my new favorite place.

What is your motto?
“There is no such thing in life as normal” – Morrissey

Who are your heroes?
My parents.

Meet Joel!

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Joel Simonson (left) joined our team in May as a Food Rescue Driver.

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I arrived at Lovin’ Spoonfuls upon completing my master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University. I remembered that Lauren and Ashley were guest speakers in one of my classes, so when there was an opportunity to be a Food Rescue Driver at Lovin’ Spoonfuls, I had to apply. I am incredibly thankful to be with such an awesome organization while doing work that I am truly passionate about.  

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?

During a typical work day, I have anywhere from four to six vendors I receive food from and four to six beneficiaries who I bring food to. I usually call ahead to the vendors and beneficiaries to give them a heads up about my arrival. While with a vendor, I tend to spend most of my time interacting with the team members in the receiving department, but on many occasions I have conversations with members from other departments such as produce or prepared foods. This is meant to reinforce my relationship with the vendor as well as ensure I consistently receive food deemed appropriate for distribution. Upon receiving food, I weigh the products and record these values for each vendor in our inventory app.

When distributing food, I usually interact with a person or people who are mainly responsible for handling the food. However, when I get the chance to interact with recipients, I find that to be one of the best parts of the job. I tend to ask the beneficiaries how much space they have for storage, whether it is the freezer, refrigerator, or shelves, and I ask what product(s) they would like the most. Much like when receiving food, I record what kind and how much food I distribute to each beneficiary.

Overall, I would say my job differs from the average truck driver because of the different beneficiaries I work with. There are many factors that contribute to the food they receive, such as storage capacity, how many people benefit from their services, and what type of services are provided by the beneficiary. Every day I have to solve a puzzle. I receive all varieties of food, which is always subject to change, and I need to determine how to properly distribute it among the beneficiaries so that they receive appropriate amounts and types of the food. If I can do that, then I solve the puzzle. I also get to meet some amazing people along the way!

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?

The strangest food item I have picked up from a vendor was definitely gefilte fish. It was right after Passover, but let’s just say people are not jumping at the opportunity to try this mixture of ground up fish.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?

I always enjoy listening to 92.9 and NPR, but occasionally I will dabble with 106.7 or 104.5.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?

I think my friends and family consider me a good cook! However, I do need to experiment with some new recipes.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

If we looked in my refrigerator right now, we would find lots of produce, some Greek yogurt (an essential), soy milk, hummus, and dark chocolate.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?

My favorite childhood food memory is seeing my grandmother preparing matzo ball soup. It was always delicious and I could always see she had a great sense of pride when her grandchildren were able to experience this food with her. I know many people who say their grandmother makes the best matzo ball soup, but I am telling you, it is actually MY grandmother who makes the best matzo ball soup!

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?

In general, I would say I was pretty aware of my own consumption habits, particularly involving food. However, I would still like to make more changes whenever possible.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?

I have only been in the Boston area since mid May, but I have had several great experiences with food so far. Ashley brought me to Flour Bakery during my second week on the job, which was a real treat, and I tried oysters for the first time at our Young Friends event at Puritan & Co. I also had an amazing meal at Tiger Mama a couple of weeks ago. I hope to keep exploring and find more great restaurants!

What is your motto?

“Love what you do and do what you love.” –Ray Bradbury

Who are your heroes?

My parents are definitely my heroes. I would not be who I am today if it were not for them, and the more I grow up, the more I appreciate everything they have done and continue to do for me.

Plenty continues to take shape!

Plenty, our culinary and nutritional program, has been serving our community of partners since 2014. Through cooking demonstrations led by our chef partners, we teach our beneficiaries whole-ingredient, low-waste cooking using the delicious food we distribute each day to more than 25,000 people in Greater Boston and MetroWest.

Last week, Plenty was on the main stage at Boston Public Market, where chef Louis DiBiccari gave demonstrations on mushroom stem rice pilaf, spring onion top salsa, and potato and cauliflower stem soup. It was our first foray into the public setting with Plenty, and chef DiBiccari got rave reviews!

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This week we’ve also started producing and filming a series of Plenty videos at BCAE to share with even more people the importance of nutritional, low-waste cooking! We will be filming the best of our workshops with our chef partners this summer, and can’t wait to share them with you!

Here’s a look at Boston’s own Tiffani Faison, who led a workshop on no-stove cooking in March! In the video, we hear from the wonderful community at ABCD (one of our partners) about the value of Plenty workshops (and Meg makes a cameo, too!). Please watch the video, produced by ABCD, and share and enjoy! Happy cooking!

Meet Katy!

Katy Jordan joined our team in April 2016 as our Communications Director

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I was first introduced to the organization in 2011, as a then-reporter looking for story ideas. I rode around with Ashley for a couple of days, wrote an article and produced a video on LovinSpoonfuls. After that, I was hooked. Ive followed the organizations growth and success over the years, and have a been a proud friend and supporter. When I learned of the communications opening, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get on board!

 

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?

Id like to think so, since I do so much of it. I probably spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food. A lot of my free time is spent cooking, and I try to use seasonal ingredients, which sometimes requires some planning.

I like to cook ethnic food, so recent favorite dishes have been Japanese and Indian-inspired things. Ive been working on my sushi rice recipe lately, as one of my favorite meals is a bowl of sushi rice topped with grilled fish, ohitashi (boiled and marinated spinach) and Japanese pickles, sprinkled with seasoned seaweed. I could eat that every night for dinner.

 

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Its the end of the week, so not much. Leftover pappardelle, some leftover grilled chicken thighs, and stray vegetables that need to be cooked tonight. I try to keep leftovers stocked so I dont end up just feeding my toddler peanut butter and jelly. That also takes some planning.

You would also find an obscene amount of condiments (Im a big fan of mustard), that are beginning to take up as much real estate as the actual food.

 

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?

My dad loved to cook it was a delight to watch him in the kitchen. Homemade cookies and meatballs were two of his favorite things to make. He passed away five years ago, so I cherish those food memories. Every time I make meatballs, the act makes me smile because it reminds me of him.

 

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?

Ive adopted some habits to cook in low-waste ways (juices and smoothies, hooray!), and I think Im generally pretty self-aware on personal food waste. I genuinely feel sad when I dont cook something in time and it gets tossed. It feels like such a waste of all the effort and resources that were put into growing or producing a food item. Im sure I can thank Spoonfuls for that awareness.

 

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?

Place: Esplanade and Arnold Arboretum

Restaurant: Oh boy, I have many. Kaze in Chinatown for shabu, Giulia in Cambridge and Bar Mezzana in the South End, both for pasta, Myers and Chang for fun Chinese, and Toro for general awesomeness, to name a few.

Neighborhood: The brownstone-lined streets of the South End are hard to beat. I live in Jamaica Plain now, and can tell you thats also a terrific place to get lost wandering the streets. Its an absolutely beautiful place.

 

What is your motto?

It might not be a motto, but Ive always liked the Nietzsche quote:

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

 

Who are your heroes?

Im lookinat you, mom!

From the Driver’s Seat: Wheelin’ & Dealin’

Reggie, one of our drivers, talks about our work in this Driver’s Seat post


IMG_6782What does it take to be a food rescue driver? Well, driving is one part to the job. My day always begins the same way — once my coffee is almost done and Penny is warmed-up and ready to go, we hit the Turnpike west (watching those sad folks stuck in eastbound traffic) towards Needham, where great-looking food is waiting.

Like any driving job, I coordinate with various receivers at each store. I’m respectful towards their work place by making sure I’m not in the way and that I’m taking the right products. They also have a lot of respect for what I do because they don’t have to have that awful, guilty feeling whenever they throw perfectly-good food away. They also know that their effort is for a great cause. They know it’s all going to people and organizations that will make the most of it.  No matter if it’s the small Whole Foods in Wayland or the bustling Roche Bros. in Wellesley, that sense of mutual respect is the same.

The other part of being a food rescue driver is knowing my beneficiaries and their preferences. Unlike a normal delivery job, there isn’t an invoice and it’s definitely not just a drop-off-and-go deal. It takes time but once I get the gist of what my beneficiaries like, I can better manage the products I have on any given day.

For instance, Boston Rescue Mission loves cut fruits. Any type of meat will make their day also. Needham Council On Aging are my go-to whenever I have anything sweet like pies and cakes. St. Francis House loves it whenever I roll in with cases of ground beef and steaks. Grandma’s Pantry will take any and all dry goods in the truck.

So when I roll out of Trader Joe’s in Needham with 350 pounds of fruit, kale, lettuce, and 3 handsome boxes of chicken and steaks, I know Carlos from Boston Rescue Mission will be happy and so will Lara from Friday Night Supper Program. She loves those leafy greens!

Maybe it’s just me, but I love wheelin’ around greater Boston, and I especially love dealin’ with the fantastic people who are doing their part to provide a basic human right. Above all, I just love the all around thanks and gratitudes.

Meet Lisa!

Lisa Allen joined our team in April 2016 as a Food Rescue Driver

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How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I was looking for a non-profit job which might use my areas of expertise on Craigslist.  When I arrived at the job with Lovin’ Spoonfuls I applied with literally no hope that I might be considered.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?

So far I arrive at the lot, and check out the truck to make sure nothing happened to it overnight.  Myself, and who ever’s training me that day check out the schedule, and make a few phone calls to confirm communication.  We sometimes make pick ups and distributions one at a time, and sometimes we pick up a lot of food at once, and make distributions in the afternoon.  I don’t even consider myself a truck driver.  I know that’s our job title, and it’s an important part of the role, but there is so much more organization, kindness, and customer service involved in what we do.  The people I’ve worked with import upon me how incredibly necessary it is to prepare and think about three strops ahead, always.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?

We picked up fiddleheads the other day, and had to express how important it was to boil them before you cook them, or they could make you sick.  I also saw starfruit the other day!

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?

I listen to whatever the person I’m with wants to listen to, but I love Jim, and Marjorie on 89.7.  I’m also a huge fan of podcasts in general, like “Stuff You Should Know”, “Filmspotting”, and “Serial.”

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?

I’m a great cook.  I pride myself on being able to make something out of anything if it’s handed to me.  I love making a replica of the golden sesame tofu that you can find at Whole Foods.  I also make a sauced shell-in edamame that is so spicy it burns to breathe the air when I’m cooking them.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

The corn salsa I made to go with our nachos last night.  A jam that my friend made in Washington and sent to me.  Wannamango beer from Harpoon.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?

My family’s Italian, so we used to celebrate Christmas Eve with the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  My Grandma would never let me have even one taste before all the dishes were completely prepared.  Also when we used to get ice cream, and I would get bubble gum flavor, inevitably getting gum stuck in my hair.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?

I’ve gotten much better at utilizing leftovers, and using products down to the nub in my fridge.  My fruit, and vegetable intake has been much higher than when I used to work in the food industry, ironically.  Also I’ve been buying my produce from the reduced section of Market Basket whenever I can.  It’s saved me so much money!

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?

I love the Mapparium at the Christian Science Plaza.  It’s a globe-shaped stained glass room, with a bridge from one side to the other.  The acoustics are such that two people can stand on either side of the bridge, and be heard with the softest whisper you can manage.  It’s the first place in Boston I brought my now husband.

What is your motto?

Always start the day with hope, try to inject as much kindness into the world as you can, and live genuinely.

Who are your heroes?

My Grandma, the international training manager from Caffe Nero: Giuliana, and anyone who has the guts to do what they think is right.

Welcome Katy!

KatyLovin150We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Katy Jordan to the ‘Spoonfuls team! Katy steps into the role of Communications Director, having a little history with us. A seasoned journalist, producer and digital strategist, Katy has worked on a number of pieces with Lovin’ Spoonfuls – ranging from newspaper articles to videos. We are incredibly lucky to have her, and look forward to everything she will bring to the organization! More to come, and she can be reached at katy@lovinspoonfulsinc.org.

Meet Anthony!

Anthony Summa joined our team in March 2016 as our MetroWest Food Rescue Driver

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How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I worked in a few different fields before I began working with Lovin’ Spoonfuls and I didn’t feel that sense of purpose that I wanted to get from my job. So I starting looking for jobs with environmentally-conscious organizations, and was really drawn to the posting for a food rescue driver position.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?

The typical day, in a broad sense, is similar to any truck driver position: start the truck, make pickups, make deliveries, park the truck and go home. Where this job differs from other driver positions is the sense of purpose and the fact that people are genuinely excited about seeing the truck pull-up and finding out what we have for them that day. I’ve worked in other driver positions briefly and never sensed that excitement before.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?

The strangest food I’ve picked up so far is a Chayote which I had never even heard of, let alone seen. A close second would be some orange cauliflower that I picked up recently just because I never knew that color cauliflower existed.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?

I like to start my mornings with a little NPR to catch up on the news of the day. In the afternoons when my day is winding down I’ll switch between Hot 96.9 for some 90’s hip-hop and Country 102.5.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?

My friends would definitely consider me a good cook. In college my roommates had meal plans but a couple nights a week I would make dinner for our apartment and a few of our friends. As far as signature dishes, any party I have my friends ask for buffalo chicken dip. Besides that, my fiancee is a big fan of my creme brûlée and french onion soup.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Pretty much at all times you’ll find some sort of beer or wine, eggs, cheese, a variety of peppers, and if we haven’t eaten it all, hummus.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?

My favorite childhood food memory is a very simple one. Every weekend I had a soccer game my family went to Duchess, this local fast-food chain across the street from the field, and I would get chicken nuggets or grilled cheese. I don’t know why but that has always stuck out in my mind.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits?

I have always been very aware of my consumption habits, trying my best to not waste food unnecessarily. This job however does bring more light to the issue as a whole though.

Have you made any significant changes as a result?

Seeing the numbers behind food waste I’ve made more of an effort to inform my friends and family of the need to change consumption habits.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?

I only just recently moved to Massachusetts from Connecticut, but as far as restaurants in Boston I really enjoyed Loco Taqueria in South Boston. I’m a big fan of the Boston Public Garden and really all of the green space throughout the city.

What is your motto?

“Crescit sub pondere virtus”, which roughly translates to “Virtue thrives under oppression”. This is my mom’s family motto, and is something that has really stuck with me. Anyone can be seen in a good light when they aren’t faced with struggles, but when up against it, how is that same person going to react and interact with others?

Who are your heroes?

My parents are my heroes since they worked hard every day to give me the life that I have today and help nurture me to become the person I am today. My one fictional hero is Hans Hubermann from the novel “The Book Thief”. This is a guy who risked everything to save another human being and stand up for what he believed is right and is someone I aim to emulate.

What This Marathon Means to Me…

On Monday, April 18th, our own Lauren Palumbo will line up as one of the 30,000 runners in the 120th Boston Marathon. 

Dear Friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls,

With only days to go before we toe the starting line in Hopkinton, my mind is on the race pretty much every hour of the day! During one of the 20+ mile training runs we completed on the course, I thought about just how much these 26.2 miles matter to me. These aren’t just any 26.2 miles, this is the route from Hopkinton to Boston. And that route couldn’t be a better symbol for where Lovin’ Spoonfuls has been, and is where it’s going.

The course starts out in Hopkinton, but quickly transitions to Ashland and on into Framingham. Right around the 10K mark, we will pass SMOC, or the Southern Middlesex Opportunity Council. We park our newest truck at SMOC, and it’s the home base of our new MetroWest route that we just launched this month. Framingham is home to many of the new agencies we are serving with this route, including a number of transitional shelters, each home to a handful of homeless families trying to get back on their feet.

At the 15K mark, we’re in Natick, and right down the street from the Natick Service Council and A Place to Turn, two more agencies we’re serving in the MetroWest, both running really impressive food pantries that we’re thrilled to be stocking with fresh, healthy food.

In Wellesley, just past the half-way point, we’ll pass by the Whole Foods Market, one of the largest vendors we work with, and the Wellesley Food Pantry, both wonderful partners of LS!

In Newton, right around the 30K mark, we’ll pass the roads that lead to the Newton Food Pantry and the Centre Street Food Pantry, agencies we’ve been serving on our Greater Boston routes for 1 and 2 years, respectively.

And as we head up Heartbreak Hill, we’ll approach Boston College, where we work with the students to rescue excess food that is prepared but not served from their dining halls. These ready-to-eat meals are a great tool for our partner beneficiaries that have limited resources.

As we head through Brookline, we’ll pass by Trader Joe’s in Coolidge Corner, the 1st vendor Ashley ever collected from in 2010. We’ll also be near the Brookline Senior Center, and the Brookline Food Pantry – two agencies we have been serving heavily for years.

From Brookline, we’ll head into Kenmore Square, where we’ll run right by our current office at 418 Comm Ave – the office we’re preparing to move out of in the coming weeks. Our new office in Brighton marks a significant milestone for LS, moving our offices and trucks to the same location for the 1st time in 6 years!

From there, it’s just a short distance to the finish line, where I look forward to celebrating with my husband, my family, and the incredible team at ‘Spoonfuls. This amazing support group helped me get through the challenges two years ago when I stopped running as a result of undiagnosed Addison’s Disease, and they supported me as I worked my way back to running half marathons, and now a full marathon.

These 26.2 miles represent so much of how far Lovin’ Spoonfuls has come, and how far I have come, and it’s going to be an amazing experience to take it all in. Please consider supporting my run by making a donation here. In doing so, you’ll give me one more boost for race day, and you’ll be supporting the incredible work we’re doing at ‘Spoonfuls, and the work still to come.

Thank you so much for your support!

With gratitude,
Lauren

From the Driver’s Seat: A Day on the Road with Kelsey

What’s one question our drivers hear the most? “What’s a day on the truck like?” For this Driver’s Seat post, Kelsey is here to answer that question!

8:30 AM – I arrive at the lot in South Boston. I do a quick check of the truck (make sure the lights are working and the tires are good to go) and make a quick phone call to Whole Foods Newtonville to let them know I am on the way.

8:40 AM – I hit the road. Set the radio to NPR to get the morning news.

 

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Backing up to the dock at Whole Foods Market in Newtonville

9:00 AM – I arrive at Whole Foods Newtonville. At this store, I enter through the back receiving area and check in with the receiver. Because we called ahead most of the food has already been brought down to the dock and is ready to be loaded. I do a check of the dates and quality of the product to ensure we only take food that is still good to be used. I record the types and weights of all the food collected using our smartphone-based inventory app and pack it into the back of the truck.

9:30 AM – I arrive at Whole Foods Newton on Walnut St. The procedure here is a little different from the previous Whole Foods. I pull up to the loading dock and enter through receiving again. Here they have a designated shelf in the refridgerator that the food for collection is stored on. I find a cart to load the boxes on and pull the food out to the truck. I inspect everything, record all the types and weights in our inventory app and hit the road.

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A portion of the collection at Wegman’s Chestnut Hill

10:15 AM – I arrive at Wegman’s Chestnut Hill. I pull up to the loading dock. I check in with the receiver to call the meat and dairy departments who will bring down any donations they have for the day. In the meantime I head back to the dock to load up the produce which has already been collected and brought out. I record all of the product in our inventory system and load the truck. Here, I also have to record the weights of the food on a paper sheet back in receiving for their tracking purposes. After filling that out I am back on the road.

11:00 AM – I arrive at Stop & Shop in Dedham. I enter through the receiving area and walk through the store to the produce department. Here they prepare the donations each morning and keep it in a cart in the cooler until we arrive to get it. I wheel it back to recieving where the receiver has prepared all the dairy product that is ready to go out. I record all the product in our inventory app and load the truck.

 

 

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Getting ready to load the truck at Hannaford Supermarket in Norwood

 

11:35 AM – I arrive at Hannaford Supermarket in Norwood. I again enter through receiving and walk through the store to the produce department. Similar to Stop & Shop, the food is waiting for me on a cart. I grab the cart from the cooler and head back to receiving. I stop by the freezer and collect any meat. While I collect produce and meat, the receiver gathers the day’s dairy donations. I bring all these donations out to the truck. The back is getting pretty full at this point, so I have to do some rearranging of the boxes to make sure everything fits and I won’t tip over any boxes when going over bumps. (Opening up the back of the truck and finding a box turned over is the worst! Careful stacking and packing is key.) I record all the product and finish loading the truck. This is my last collection of the morning. Now I head out to start distributing the food!

The truck is getting full!

The truck is getting full!

 

 

 

 

12:05 PM – I arrive at Abundant Table in Norwood, a community meal program serving the communities of Norwood, Dedham, Canton, Westwood, and beyond. This is a unique distribution; I pull up to the side of the building and use my key to get into the kitchen. They serve a meal twice a week and we deliver mostly leafy greens and salad toppings for them to use. I put the food in the fridge, record the distribution in our inventory app by type of food and weight and head back out.

12:30 PM – I arrive at Father Bill’s in Quincy. I pull up to the side of the building and find the cook in the kitchen. She comes out and picks out what she will be able to use. They usually take about 300 pounds of food. Father Bill’s is a homeless shelter which serves multiple meals per day. They love the fresh food we deliver – especially the cut fruit that people can grab and take with them. I log the types of food they take and the weights again.

 

Delivering at Interfaith Social Services

12:45 PM – I arrive at Interfaith Social Services, also in Quincy. This is a large food pantry that clients can visit once a month. Interfaith takes a pretty big delivery, they can distribute a lot of food and can accept a wide variety of food types. I almost empty my truck here. I record the types and weights here and leave with about 150 pounds of food left in the truck.

 

1:00 PM – I arrive at Sanger Center for Compassion in Quincy. Sanger Center delivers bags of food to people in their community. We supply most of the bread. I deliver all of the remaining bread on my truck here, which is nice because sometimes it can be difficult to distribute all of the bread we receive. They also take a few boxes of fresh produce. I record what was distributed here and head back towards Boston. But first I make a quick phone call to Whole Foods Jamaica Plain to let them know I am on my way.

Pulling up to the Sanger Center

Pulling up to the Sanger Center

1:45 PM – I arrive at Whole Foods Jamaica Plain. I let the produce department know I am there and they start to bring the food down to receiving, while I head back to the prepared foods department to collect any donations they have. By the time I get back to receiving the other departments have brought down their donations and I am ready to start loading up the truck.  I finish loading up and head out to make my last few stops for the day.

2:10 PM – I arrive at Roxbury Youthworks. Here they serve clients by delivery. I pull up to the front door and find the youth advocate who comes out and picks out what they need to finish up their delivery bags to go out to families they serve for the day. I finish by recording the food that they picked out via our inventory system.

2:30 PM – I arrive at Catholic Charities in Dorchester. This is a very large food pantry. They move a lot of product each day. They can accept any type of product and always find a use for as much food as we drop off. I distribute any remaining food on my truck here, finish recording all weights and head back to the lot.

Delivering at Catholic Charities

Delivering at Catholic Charities

3:00 PM – I arrive back at our lot in South Boston. I sweep out the back of the truck so it’s ready for tomorrow, and lock up.

Meet Emma!

Emma Dismukes joined our team in March 2015 as a Food Rescue Driver

Lovin’ Spoonfuls 2015 Ultimate Tailgate Party

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
A very fruitful Internet search led me to a job posting for a food rescue driver. It was so different from anything else I’d seen, and definitely right up my alley of interests, so I just had to apply!

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
Well, it starts with a lot of coffee! I pretty much bounce back and forth between vendors and beneficiaries all day because I drive our smallest capacity truck. It’s great to be able to tell our vendors that I’m heading straight to the local pantry that is just a few doors down. It tends to kick them into gear a bit more. There’s a more personal connection between everyone I see daily and the typical delivery person.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
If you check out the Lovin’ Spoonfuls Instagram post from about a month ago you’ll see a great picture of my purple-nailed fingers clutching two pretty funky looking fruits! A horned melon and a starfruit. I should probably pick them up myself sometime to try them out.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
I almost always spend my days listening to WGBH and/or WBUR. It’s one of the best perks of the job – getting to stay extremely on top of the news and really random but fun stories. Sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast here or there…and if it’s been a long day I sometimes put on some music to keep my momentum up!

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I cook the turkey at both family Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving. I think that means they trust me! I make a mean lasagna.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
I am always packing a ton of produce, hummus, and Greek yogurt, trying to be healthy and whatnot. But I have to admit that I also am a sucker for chips and salsa and I’m just really crazy about cream cheese.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
My family takes taco night very seriously. We invite family friends over every week or two. As the years have gone by, the toppings bar has grown more elaborate. Now we bake our own shells and the bowls for the toppings wrap all the way around the table!

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
I think I initially applied for this job because of my consumption habits. I’ve never been a big food waster. It has always been a big pet peeve of mine. Particularly when people don’t check if things have actually spoiled, but just throw them away because the date has passed.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
I really enjoy the food scene around Harvard square. I live up in that area and the restaurants meet every style – from casual/quick grab to high end. And they’re all delicious!

What is your motto?
I live by two sayings; carpe diem and let your passions drive you. I never want to live with regrets and I don’t think there is any sense in not following a lifestyle or work life that you care deeply about.

Who are your heroes?
Uhhh…my brother???

Meet Reggie!

Reggie Nguyen joined our team in September 2015 as a Food Rescue Driver

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How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I first learned about Lovin’ Spoonfuls from Rosie’s Place, my former employer. I worked in the pantry there, so I got to know the company and the drivers really well. I have always admired Lovin’ Spoonfuls, so when an opportunity to join the team came up, I jumped, and now here I am!

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
I think the biggest difference between my job and the average driving job is that there’s a lot of heart involved in what I do.  The day to day routine may be similar, driving from one place to another, picking up food and dropping it off, but the thanks and gratitude I get from both donors and beneficiaries makes each day infinitely rewarding.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
It has to be gefilte fish. It was my first encounter with this dish in my many years of working with donated food!

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
I absolutely love “The World” on WGBH Radio at 3pm. BBC world news at 9am on WBUR is also a must.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
Stir fries and omelets is about as far as my culinary skills can go!

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Lots of Arizona iced tea and Guiness.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
My favorite food memory would have to be going to my grandma’s food stall at the market every morning in Vietnam to get her steamed taro cake with dried shrimp.  She would insist that I eat some before bringing some home to mom!

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
It has to be Beat Hotel. They have the best burger hands down. An unobtrusive bun and cooked to a true medium rare.

What is your motto?
“You gonna eat that?”

Who are your heroes?
I am torn between Ben Kingsley and Gandhi. It comes down to Gandhi’s humility and Kingsley’s portrayal of a typical Hollywood jerk in his cameo on the Sopranos.

Meet Kelsey!

Kelsey Moss joined our team in September 2015 as a Food Rescue Driver

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How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I was looking to move to Boston, and with a background in social work I was looking into many different social service agencies. I found that many of them partnered with Lovin’. I checked out the Lovin’ website and knew I wanted to work for such a needed organization.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
I’m actually writing a Driver’s Seat post about this! I have never been a normal truck driver so I don’t know exactly, but we are kind of the opposite of a driver at grocery stores. We spend our time picking up food, not dropping off. And we get the privilege of delivering to lots of small organizations. I think we probably spend a lot more time on tight neighborhood streets!

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
Fuzzy melon. I picked it up just a few weeks in. I had to google it to even be able to tell others what they could make with it.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
I listen to a LOT of NPR.  A little Adele is also a good afternoon boost.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I wouldn’t say I am a particularly good cook. I have always been friends with fantastic cooks so I get to enjoy their creations and wash the dishes.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Plain Greek yogurt, carrots, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, string cheese, goat cheese (can you tell I am from Wisconsin?), bell peppers, eggs, milk, salsa.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
Well there are two things that are pretty weird about my childhood as it relates to food. One, I hated chocolate growing up. In general, I just didn’t enjoy the flavor. I was a bland food kid all the way. I’m so glad that this has not stuck with me forever! Two, we had a weird obsession with ketchup in my family. We LOVED to put it on our mac and cheese. These days, I find that thought repulsive, but I used to love it.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
Yes! I am now willing to go to the store more frequently instead of stocking up and having food go bad.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
I just moved here about 6 months ago so I have only just begun exploring. I have a general rule to try not to go to the same restaurant frequently. There are so many new great places to try I don’t want to get stuck on one, so I don’t have a current favorite.

What is your motto?
Show up, be present, and try your best to be kind.

Who are your heroes?
There are too many to name. I am inspired by the many people in my life who take risks to pursue their dreams. They take a new job in the field they always wanted to explore but didn’t think they had a chance. They go back to school years later to pursue a new line of work that they thought they had missed the boat on. My heroes are my friends and family who decide to just go for it, as crazy as their life or idea my be. Those people inspire me to take risks in my own life and I always want to be a risk taker.
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