If we reduced food waste by 15%, we could feed 25 million people. With 49 million people living with food insecurity in this country, we should be making every effort to get food to our neighbors before it’s wasted.
One way that we can get more food to people in need is by supporting food rescue organizations. These small, mostly volunteer-run groups fill an important gap in the food recovery process. They handle the logistics of getting food that is still edible, but not saleable, from grocery stores, restaurants, events or dining facilities to the food banks, pantries and soup kitchens that distribute food.
To help simplify and strengthen the food donation process, we have just launched the Food Rescue Locator in collaboration with our partners at EndFoodWaste.org and the Food Rescue Alliance. This free online tool allows anyone with excess food (individuals, offices, events, restaurants, you name it!) to find a nearby group they can donate to.
While there are several large databases and directories for food banks, community dining rooms, food pantries, and the like, until now there has been no directory of food rescue groups. That means, if you had a small quantity of extra food that you would like to donate, you were likely out of luck if you didn’t have an existing connection.
How It Works
Simply type in your ZIP code and the Food Rescue Locator will pull up any food rescue organizations in your area, along with the information you need to make sure you can connect with and confirm they are right for your donation needs.
The information gathered through the Locator will be used to track the growth of the food rescue movement. The US EPA is hoping to integrate the data into their mapping efforts, too. And the best part? The Locator is free to those who submit listings and those who use it to find food rescue groups. If you work or volunteer for a food rescue organization, you can fill out this form to be listed in the Food Rescue Locator.
Encouraging and facilitating the donation of edible, excess food to food rescue organizations has been an important component of our work since we started tackling food waste, whether we are at a NASCAR race or having a lunch meeting at our office. But incorporating food recovery into each of our encounters with food has shown us firsthand how challenging it can be to find recipients for extra food, especially if it is perishable or already prepared.
Now, whether you have leftover sandwiches from a luncheon or bushels of extra apples from your backyard apple tree, the Food Rescue Locator will make it easier to get them to people who can use them.
The Food Rescue Locator is now live and available to use, but we need help to fund its growth, maintenance and promotion. Please donate today so we can work together to donate more food and support the hungry in our communities.
We’d like to thank Jordan Figueiredo of endfoodwaste.org and Caleb Phillips of the Food Rescue Alliance for their work on this project. Thank you for supporting food rescue and helping fight hunger in the U.S.!