By Michael Prince, Food Rescue Coordinator
Since becoming a Food Rescue coordinator for Lovin Spoonfuls, I have been able to observe firsthand arguably the world’s biggest problem, hunger. Hunger and food inequity, a global problem, affects my home state of Massachusetts tremendously. Although like any problem, when one is not directly affected, it becomes easy to turn a blind eye. In the 4th wealthiest state in the country, 1 in 11 residents struggle with hunger and 1 in 9 children are affected every day. One of the most crucial factors contributing to this problem is the cost of healthy food, the food we rescue. Limited resources and income can make it challenging for families to shop for fresh produce, meats and dairy.
While rescuing for the last 8 months, I have learned all about the ‘use by,’ ‘best by’ and ‘sell by’ dates and the regulations the stores must follow. A lot of good food is wasted because markets can’t sell the food. Everything we rescue is safe, edible food and is in good condition.
We once picked up an entire pallet of perfectly fresh berries from Costco. The high quality of the berries was most likely due to an over-ordered product or product sent to the wrong store. It is rewarding being able to stop healthy, nutritious food like this from going to waste. The ‘Spoonfuls team has rescued over 14.5 million pounds and counting over the past 10 years, but sadly there is still work to do and good food being wasted all over our state and the country.
We strive to slowly bridge the gap between the amount of food waste and the people who need that food for survival. It has been incredible to see the behind the scenes of how to save all this food the way we do and the teamwork it requires to conquer such an issue. The operations team, Plenty workshops, fundraising, and the rescue and redistribution of food is all a collaborative effort. Teamwork and communication are crucial for ensuring our vendors and receivers are on the same page.
Monday through Friday we fill up our trucks with fresh produce, meats, dairy, dry goods and anything else that was stored safely. We always make sure the trucks are empty at the end of the day. There is nothing more rewarding, and I look forward to continuing to bridge the gap between abundance and need on the road for ‘Spoonfuls.