Food waste and hunger are national epidemics, and in Connecticut, the overall food insecurity rate is 12.2% including one in six children statewide.
While these numbers are staggering, five students from Greenwich High School are working to do something about it.
As part of their senior class internship, the GHS interns, Luke Blaine, Kai Jennings, Alex Bound, Sasha Burnett and Elliot Carlson, are working for Food Rescue US and are rescuing excess healthy and fresh food from Fairfield County grocery stores, restaurants, corporate cafeterias, schools and hospitals, and delivering the food to those in need.
Food Rescue US is a national nonprofit that uses an app-driven simple solution to reduce hunger and food waste. Food Rescue US is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, and operates 20 Food Rescue US sites in North America.
The goal of Food Rescue US is to have a site in every state in the next three-to-five years.
“We are like the ‘Uber’ for food rescue pickups,” said Luke Blaine, one of the GHS Food Rescue US interns. “Our goal is to help educate our underclassmen with the information and tools we have learned through this internship and help them form a GHS Food Rescue US Club that can continue to help rescue food from GHS and other donors in our area throughout the year. It is an easy way for them to reduce waste and eliminate their neighbors hunger. We also hope our actions will help add a lot more donors in our Greenwich community this year.”
Food Rescue US uses a smart and simple app to connect food donors with those in need. Food is “rescued” by Food Rescue US volunteers from local food vendors. In Greenwich, Food Rescue US partners with Whole Foods, Kings, Upper Crust Bagels, Sound Beach Pizza, Re Napoli Pizza, Something Natural Bakery and delivers the rescued food to the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Kids in Crisis, Neighbor to Neighbor, and and to the New Covenant House in Stamford. The GHS Food Rescue US interns are working throughout lower Fairfield County, picking up food from numerous donors and delivering it to receiving agencies in need.
40 percent of the American food supply being wasted each year — more than enough to feed all the food insecure people in our country.
“We have a crisis of hunger and food waste in America and worldwide,” said Carol Shattuck, a Greenwich resident and the CEO of Food Rescue US.
“More than 40 million Americans are food insecure including 13 million children in the United States. The amount of food wasted in the US is also a serious crisis with 40 percent of the American food supply being wasted each year — more than enough to feed all the food insecure people in our country,” Shattuck said. “Food Rescue US saw an opportunity to help solve both the hunger issue and food waste issue with a simple app-driven solution. Fortunately, with Food Rescue US, there’s an app for that.”
“Throughout this four-week internship, my attitudes toward the local issue of food rescue really have transformed,” said Alex Bound. “I previously assumed that grocery stores and corporations already donated any unused food to shelters, schools and other care centers. Yet this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Unfortunately, massive quantities of food are thrown into the garbage daily. This food is completely edible, nutritious, and can benefit so many needy families in Fairfield County. I feel honored to be a part of such a noble project.”
“While many people assume hunger is an issue that solely plagues impoverished areas, few people are aware that food insecurity is everywhere,” said Kai Jennings, a GHS intern. “Even in my hometown of Greenwich, 20 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch. This next year, I hope to continue to volunteer with Food Rescue US at Duke University and experience the same joy that I’ve felt during my internship with this organization.”
The Food Rescue US app is easy to use and has allowed the organization, through the use of its proprietary app-driven technology, to rescue more than 32 million meals since 2011. Food Rescue US has 5000+ volunteers nationwide that deliver to more than 788 receiving agencies. These rescued meals represent 45+ million pounds of food that did not go into landfill.
“In Fairfield County more than 30% of households are on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” stated Nicole Straight, Food Rescue US Fairfield County site director. Using the Food Rescue US app is easy. Volunteer food rescuers download the app from the Apple App Store on iTunes or Google Play, log on to the app, select a food donor to pick up from and are matched with a receiving agency in the same vicinity. Most pick-up and drop-offs of food take 30-minutes or less and save thousands of pounds of perfectly good, fresh food from ending up in landfills.
One of the projects the GHS interns are working on is signing up new donors, food retailers and purveyors interested in participating in the Food Rescue US program.
“We would like to see every grocery store, restaurant, corporate dining room, hospital and school donate to Food Rescue US,” Luke said.
Those interested in participating should contact Nicole Straight at 1-800-280-3298 or [email protected]. Volunteers are also needed to be rescuers and can download the free Food Rescue US app via the Apple App Store or Google Play, register their information and start rescuing food.
Food Rescue US, a non-profit organization, is a leader in reducing both hunger and food waste in America. Through the use of its proprietary mobile app, Food Rescue US easily connects its team of volunteers with companies that have excess food with social service organizations feeding the food insecure.
Founded in Fairfield County in 2011, Food Rescue US has now expanded nationally to 12 states and the District of Columbia where its volunteer food rescuers quickly deliver the food from its donors to the receiving organizations. In 2018, Food Rescue US completed more than 25,000 rescues equaling over 6.8 million meals delivered. For more information, visit foodrescue.us or follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @foodrescueus.