Food Rescue US is one of those no-brainer, easy-to-do, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas that dramatically impacts thousands of lives.
Begun in 2011 in Norwalk, and now operating in 13 states, it addresses an enormous problem: More than 50 million Americans are hungry. Yet we waste more than 40 billion meals each year.
The solution is staggeringly simple. Volunteer drivers bring fresh food that would have been thrown away by restaurants, grocers and other food industry sources in place like Westport, to shelters, kitchens and pantries in cities like Norwalk, Bridgeport and Stamford.
An app enables restaurants and retailers with extra food to request a pick up. Volunteers in the area are immediately pinged.
Almost 1,000 food rescuers in Fairfield County pick up food from 85 donors, and deliver to 80 social service agencies.
Westport ardently supports Food Rescue US. We have dozens of drivers. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods participate.
Now the Westport Public Schools are involved too.
Elementary teachers Stacey Fowle (Greens Farms) and Ashley Moran (Saugatuck), along with Ben Lahey, assistant director of dining for district food service provider Chartwells, worked with the Staples High, Bedford Middle and Greens Farms and Saugatuck Elementary school cafeterias. All now save unused food.
Every Thursday, volunteers pick up the food, and bring it to the Gillespie Center downtown. They — and Stacey, Ashley, Ben and everyone else involved in this project — are this week’s Unsung Heroes.
Food Rescue US does great work. But the need is also great.
For more information — including how to volunteer — click here.
ONE MORE COURSE: Joining this week’s Unsung Heroes is Ellen Bowen.
The longtime Westporter has a condo in Miami. A year and a half ago — recognizing the enormous number of large venues like hotels and stadiums in the area — she helped start Food Rescue US there.
South Florida embraced the concept in a big way. They’ve already rescued over 300,000 pounds of food, from places like the Fontainebleau Hotel and after events like the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
And — oh yeah — Super Bowl LIV.
Immediately following this winter’s big game, Food Rescue US picked up 35,000 pounds of food from hotels, restaurants, markets — even the Super Bowl Experience.
Well done, Ellen!