Across Fairfield County, Food Rescue US volunteers are gearing up for April 25. That’s when the non-profit — which delivers extra food from restaurants, grocers, bakeries and caterers to soup kitchens, food pantries and other hunger relief organizations — throws its annual fundraiser. “Food For All” features amazing food and fun from over a dozen great restaurants, including Amis, Kawa Ni and Match Burger Lobster.
One of the volunteers working hardest on the event is Nicole Straight. But that’s no surprise. In the 4 years she’s been involved with Food Rescue US (formerly known as Community Plates), she’s saved untold tons of food.
And helped feed countless county residents.
A private chef, cookbook author and creator of Time to Eat! — a longtime cooking class for busy parents — Nicole is passionate about her volunteer work.
“In a community as fortunate as ours, it’s easy to oversee the invisible and sometimes uncomfortable hungry in our towns,” she told fellow food rescuer Ria Rueda.
“They are in Westport, Fairfield, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich and Bridgeport. In the current culture, many people feel overwhelming powerlessness, a what-can-I-do feeling?”
For Nicole, service means “boots on the ground” small acts. She loves helping her immediate community, easily and in under an hour.
Food rescue can be done alone, or with family or friends. An app allows anyone to find out when a food run is needed, 7 days a week.
“I love this job because it humanizes and connects me to people in our community I might never have met,” Nicole says.
Since becoming site director in 2016, Nicole has increased the volunteer base from 300 to 500.
But food rescue is not all she does.
Nicole volunteers weekly at the Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport.
And she teaches poker at Westport’s Senior Center.
Which is just one more reason we are proud to “hand” this week’s Unsung Hero award to the very aptly named Nicole Straight.