Tag Archives: Food Rescue US-Fairfield

Roundup: Remarkable Staples Video, WTF Food Rescue, WFM Young Shoots …

The Staples High School Class of 2022 is now part of history.

But tonight they live on — on the big screen.

The Remarkable Theatre screens a 60-minute film — created by the theater’s Staples interns — highlighting the graduating class.

There are interviews with nearly 2 dozen seniors, plus footage contributed by other students. It was produced over the past 2 weeks, so it is definitely timely.

Gates open at 8 p.m. tonight, for tailgating. The film begins at 8:45. Tickets are $20 per person or $50 per car, whichever is cheaper — with no limit on the number of passengers. Click here to purchase, and for more details.

Eamon Brannigan is one of the stars of the Class of 2022 Senior Night film.

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If you’re a good gardener, you grow your own food.

If you’re a very good (and lucky!) gardener, you’ve got way more than  you need.

But there’s only so much lettuce, peas and zucchini you can give to your friends.

So chew on this: Wakeman Town Farm has partnered with Westport Grow-a-Row and Food Rescue US-Fairfield County on a new produce donation drop off site.

Bring your abundance to WTF’s farm stand any Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.; coolers are set up there. Your fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs will help people struggling with food insecurity, throughout Fairfield County.

Questions? Email Haley@foodrescue.us. Follow @grow.a.row_westport on Instagram for updates.

The drop-off spot is hard to miss.

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And speaking of gardens:

Westport Farmers’ Market‘s 6th annual Young Shoots Photography Contest. Snap!

There are 3 age categories: 5-9 years old, 10-14 and 15-18. Any photo taken at one of the Thursday Farmers’ Markets is eligible. Judging is by a panel of local artists, and the public.

The contest runs from a week from this tomorrow (June 23) through July 31. Winners — who earn a $100 cash, WFM swag and a gift card for a MoCA Westport class — will be celebrated at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, with catering by Sugar & Olives.

Ann Burmeister — Farmers’ Market board member and Who Grows Your Food photographer — will help youngsters as they take shots at the Market tomorrow. A WFM team member will be on hand throughout the contest to answer questions.

Click here to submit photos, and for more information.

“Starstem” by Calista Finkelstein was a previous “Young Shoots” winner in the 8-10 category.

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Yesterday’s obituary of longtime Westport volunteer Tom Hofstetter included incorrect information about a memorial service at Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club. The family will hold a private burial only; there is no service.

ThomasHofstetter

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On June 30, nearly everyone in Westport will watch the July 4th fireworks. (I know, I know …)

But if pyrotechnics aren’t your thing, you’ve got an artistic option.

The opening reception for MoCA’s new exhibition — “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” — is set for that night (6 to 8 p.m.; free).

The show explores how “female artists, utilizing textiles as their medium, subvert the social expectation of crafting by lambasting this soft medium with political and social awareness.”

It focuses on flags, as a symbol of solidarity for women of the suffrage movement, and an emblem of protest. Flags in “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” were assembled using mixed media and the fiber arts to ignite positive social change.

So — with those flags — there is a connection to Independence Day after all.

The exhibition runs through September 4. Click here for more information.

The MoCA exhibition logo is based on the original colors of the suffragist movement.

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Another opening, another show:

Amy Simon Fine Art (123 Main Street), hosts an opening reception this Saturday (June 25, 3 to 5 p.m.) for the new “Visual Alchemy” show. Artists include Barry Katz, David Skillicorn and Louise P. Sloane.

Untitled #11– encaustic over plaster. (Barry Katz)

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It’s not true that Benjamin Franklin wanted a wild turkey — not an eagle — to be America’s national symbol.

The actual story: In a letter to his daughter, he criticized the original eagle design for the Great Seal, saying it looked like a turkey.

Well, after a long period away, wild turkeys have returned to Westport. The other day, Carol Cederbaum saw 3 of them roosting on her back deck. She got this shot a female, before they spotted her behind the window.

Is it a handsome “Westport … Naturally” subject, or not? You be the judge.

(Photo/Carol Cederbaum)

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And finally … in the past week we’ve given shout-outs to Staples grads, and Brian Wilson. Here’s one more — together — as the Class of 2022 gets ready for their “Senior Night” at the Remarkable Theater (story above):

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Meals Go Straight To First Responders

Last night, Nicole Straight sat home feeling anxious.

Her daughter — suddenly home from college — was working a volunteer shift at EMS.

Food Rescue US — the app that uses volunteer drivers to move food that would otherwise be thrown away by restaurants to shelters, kitchens and pantries, and which Nicole runs locally — had gotten slammed. Longtime generous donors were suddenly shutting down.

As she chatted with a friend — an ER nurse at Norwalk Hospital — Nicole had an idea. What if she could get meals from a local restaurant, and bring them to first responders?

She called Bill Taibe — owner of The Whelk, Jesup Hall and Kawa Ni, who had just announced an end to in-house dining. He was happy to help.

Nicole told him to make whatever he wanted, and pack it individually. She’d bring it to Westport EMS.

Bill calculated the cost at $15 a meal. Nicole posted that information on Facebook. She hoped to get enough donations so she would not have to cover 50 meals — $750 — herself.

Since last night, almost $6,000 has poured in.

Old Post Tavern in Fairfield asked if they could help. An ICU nurse from Norwalk Hospital said her crew would love a meal.

Nicole’s daughter contacted the crew chief from Norwalk EMS. Tomorrow, they and the ICU unit will get 70 meals, courtesy of Old Post Tavern.

Nicole is also setting up meals for Trumbull EMS, Bridgeport Hospital’s ER and ICU, and Bridgeport’s Harding High School Adversity to Prosperity program, which keeps at-risk youth off the streets and involved in sports.

She is looking for first responders who’d like a meal, and restaurants who would like to help (and be paid, of course).

Meanwhile, Nicole is setting up a GoFundMe page, so other communities can also support both restaurants and first responders.

Until then, people can Venmo @nicole-straight. She’ll buy meals from local restaurants — and bring them to first responders around Fairfield County — as long as she can.

Crew chief Rob Pocius accepts a special delivery at Westport EMS.

Library Cafe’s Mystic-al Tale

Westport Library officials anticipated a big crowd at their “transformation” opening last Sunday.

They just didn’t figure it would be so big.

After a brass band led hundreds into the new building at 11:15, they swarmed into the new space. People oohed and aahed over the Forum, the recording studio, the children’s section, art galleries and reading rooms.

And they lined up, 20 deep, for sandwiches, salads, baked goods and coffee in the new café.

By 1:30, the library had run out of food.

They called Mystic Market — their new partner. Barely half an hour later, the café was fully restocked.

Heli Stagg in the library cafe, with prepared food from Mystic Market, baked goods from Sono Baking Company, and the brand-new espresso machine.

Mystic Market’s popularity has grown steadily, since opening a couple of months ago in the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow Charles Street site near the train station.

Now, library users far beyond Saugatuck are discovering the market’s magic too.

The new partnership “was meant to be,” says Heli Stagg, Westport Library retail and café manager.

As the library expanded, she’d searched for a new partner. Oscar’s was the first, when the small original café opened several years ago. After owner Lee Papageorge died, Gold’s took over. Both were “great,” Stagg says.

But with the transformation project nearly complete, the library wanted to offer more than basic salads and sandwiches.

Stagg had heard raves about Mystic Market’s prepared foods. When she met general manager David Griswold, the first thing he offered was a tour of their state-of-the-art kitchen.

David Griswold (center) and his Mystic Market team.

Stagg was impressed. Serendipitously, the market’s owners — Mystic-based Coastal Gourmet Group — were there for a meeting. She invited them to the still-under-construction library.

A few minutes in, they told her, “We have to do this.”

“Their food is excellent,” she says. “We want a high-end vendor. And we want them to succeed. This is a win for both of us.”

Mystic Market is not the only café partner. SoNo Baking Company is in its 4th year providing baked goods.

As with Mystic Market, Stagg had heard good things about the Norwalk-based firm. When she met the owners — and tasted their food — she was sold.

With both companies, Stagg says, “we’re doing exactly what the library likes to do everywhere: make connections. We want people to enjoy the café, and learn about businesses they might not know.”

Patrons enjoy the new Westport Library cafe inside …

The transformed library has made one more connection: with Food Rescue US.

That’s the innovate group that uses an app to match supermarkets, restaurants (and library cafēs!) having leftover food, with volunteers who can pick it up and deliver to shelters, kitchens and pantries.

Now — like Westport Library patrons — they too can enjoy the Mystic Market and SoNo Baking bounty.

… and out.

Food Rescue: Simple Solution To A Tough Problem

The problem is staggering: Up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten. At the same time, 1 in 8 Americans struggles to put food on the table.

The solution is staggeringly simple: Food Rescue US uses volunteer drivers to move fresh, usable food that would have been thrown away by restaurants, grocers and other food industry sources, to shelters, kitchens and pantries in 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.

Food Rescue US is a national organization with a strong Westport presence. Over the past few years, more than 350 Westporters have helped.

Christy Colasurdo is one. At Trader Joe’s she loads fresh salads, breads,  sandwiches, milk, eggs, vegetables and fruits, then delivers it all to the Person to Person pantry in Norwalk.

On her first run, she filled her entire SUV. She was hooked.

Q104.3 disc jockey (and Westport resident, and super volunteer) Ian O’Malley (right) on a recent food run to the Gillespie Center.

The local Food Rescue group is run by dynamic Westporter Nicole Straight. She has 2 missions: match excess food with those who need it, and let everyone know how easy it is to help.

So on Monday, September 17 (6 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farm hosts a discussion about food waste in general, and Food Rescue specifically.

Panelists include Straight, chef Jes Bengtson of Terrain, and chef Jeff Taibe of Taproot restaurant. Sustainable food advocate Annaliese Paik will moderate.

The event includes local food donors from farms, restaurants and grocery stores. Light refreshments will be served.

Tickets are $25; $15 for Food Rescue volunteers. (Click here to purchase.) Proceeds benefit Food Rescue US.

Here’s an unexpected dessert: Each ticket is good for free entry to the October 21 screening of Anthony Bourdain’s documentary “Wasted!” (October 21, Town Hall, 6 p.m.).

That should be enough to convince you to volunteer for Food Rescue US — or at least go to the WTF panel.

If not, consider this recent note, received by local Food Rescue organizers:

I just want to say thanks, and tell you what the food donations mean to me. I get $192 a month in food stamps. It’s hard to stretch that amount over an entire month.

Getting food from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s means a whole lot. This past Saturday we got a lot of good stuff (a lot of it vegan). One of my faves was the spicy falafel.

I look forward to the Saturday deliveries because there’s going to be something different each time. There’s always something I can use. Thank you!

(CT Bites is also a huge supporter of Food Rescue US. On September 29, they’re sponsoring a special “Kitchen Crawl,” featuring 4 local chefs in 4 designer homes, with cooking demos, great food, wine and beer. All proceeds benefit Food Rescue. Click here for details and tickets.)

Person to Person in Norwalk appreciates Trader Joe’s — and Food Rescue US’ — generous efforts.