Our new summer intern, Olivia, recently spent a few days hauling with our drivers. Here, she reflects on her time on the road…
It was my third day on the job working as the summer intern here at Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Spoonfuls works with vendors such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Hannaford Supermarkets, and other small vendors. Produce that is not up to retail standards is usually thrown away by many of these large supermarkets. This is where Lovin’ Spoonfuls comes in. Working with our vendors we receive the leftovers as a donation to our organization. Not only do we help vendors reduce their carbon footprint, but vendors also save money that would be spent on throwing the food away. I would describe Lovin’ Spoonfuls as the liaison, a food rescue non-profit that works with vendors to collect leftover food and distribute to beneficiaries. The many beneficiaries that we work with, such as Haley House and Pine Street Inn, look forward to receiving a variety of fresh produce to serve to the Boston community.
This week I was on the road with Jeremy, listening to his favorite Bluegrass music as we rode in Bertha, the Lovin’ Spoonfuls box truck. Our first stop was at Trader Joe’s in Brookline. The staff was very friendly and directed us toward the leftover food. I was amazed by the quality and variety of the produce. Many boxes of fresh produce and fruit were stacked high. Other boxes included muffins, cookies, and bags of sliced bread. There was even two boxes full of pears. I was very tempted to bite into one of those pears but, I restrained myself. These leftovers were considered trash because they were not up to customer standards. I could not wrap my head around this because this produce was completely usable and edible. If Lovin’ Spoonfuls had not been there to pick up these leftovers, then who would? The next step for this food would be the dumpster, when it could be used right away to feed many homeless people.
Our next stop was to our new pilot program, Hannaford Supermarket in Waltham, MA. When we arrived I could not believe how large the store was. I figured this supermarket had a large donation for us and I was prepared to weigh the produce and load it into Bertha. At the Waltham Hannaford Supermarket, we walked straight into the store and headed to the back. Boxes of bananas, apples, and assorted vegetables filled an entire wheeling tray. An employee directed us to behind the meat department. We were handed a box of meat, which included burgers and lean steaks. Also, we were given a box of fresh sausages that were mislabeled. The quality of the meat was pristine and I was so excited to donate the meat to one of our lucky beneficiaries.
We left Hannaford Supermarket with a box truck full of fresh produce and were on our way to our beneficiaries of the day, Haley House and Pine Street Inn. At Haley House, we were greeted by Linda, the volunteer coordinator. Linda chose to take a couple boxes of muffins, a variety of produce including fresh tomatoes, and the box of sausages. Bertha was still filled with many boxes of produce and I wanted Linda to take more food. Linda took only as much as the organization could handle. Linda thought consciously about what produce she needed for upcoming meals served at Haley house. I knew next week we would be back and Linda would be ready for us.