Food Rescue Programs
We all love food. So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash?
Yes, 50%! That's according to the authors and filmmakers of a 74-minute documentary film about food waste and food rescue called "Just Eat It." Click here to find out more about the film.
An individual American throws away an average of 20 pounds of food a month, according to a 2012 report by National Resources Defense Council. http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-ip.pdf
All of that wasted food, meanwhile, creates a host of environmental problems, growing the size of landfills and contributing to climate change. Organic matter decomposing in dumps is the third largest source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, in the US.
At Gemma's Angels, we've been aware of this issue for many years. We have been actively involved in the food rescue and recovery movement in several ways:
Produce Auction: Feeding the poor at bargain basement prices
As our funds allow, we attend the weekly produce auction in Manheim, Pennsylvania. We have been assisted in this endeavor for several years by Jeff Stoudt of Hershey, owner of Stoudt Plumbing & HVAC. He provides his vehicle and muscle power to load and transport what we buy back to Hershey. He often will then help us distribute the produce to our client sites the next day. Thanks, Jeff!
Over the years, we have purchased thousands of pounds of good, useable produce at the auction. The produce comes largely from supermarkets and other outlets that no longer rate the quality as superior and it must be used within one to two weeks. Our client soup kitchens and shelters use this produce well within those time parameters and is therefore an excellent source at extremely bargain prices.
For example, one year we were able to buy 30 cases of beautiful organic apples from Oregon for only $3.00 a case! Recently, advisory board member Kristine Stern came along and sponsored our auction. We were able to buy over 300 pounds and a good variety of beautiful produce for only $62.50! You too can sponsor an auction night! It actually makes for a fun night! Contact us below to find out how.
Gleaning is the process of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Since 2012, we have conducted apple gleaning at Schaeffer Farms of Klingerstown, PA.
Owners Jeff & Deb Schaeffer have generously allowed our volunteers to glean apples at their beautiful orchards in Schuykill County in September and October. Each year we glean over 1,000 of apples which get distributed to our client network--apples that would have gone to waster!
This is a perfect activity for community-minded businesses or groups. All you need are gloves, long sleeve shirts and long legged pants. Bring your cameras as the vistas of the nearby Blue Mountains are beautiful! Contact us today to join in the fun!
Schaeffer Farms can be found at the Farmer's Market in Hershey every Thursday afternoon from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. They also have a great CSA program. Call (570) 644-2277 and ask them--support your local farms!
We're not sure how else to describe this, but there are plenty of retail outlets out there that will provide ready-to-expire food or less than perfect items for donation. If you have these items or know of them, call us and we can get them to into our distribution stream. Don't worry, we'll find a home for it!