Ever wonder what happens to fresh food that isn’t purchased at the grocery store? Sadly, most of it is thrown away. Thankfully, Food Rescue US - Fairfield County helps keep this food from landfills and delivers it to the hungry in our local community.
Carol Shattuck, CEO of Food Rescue US, describes the national nonprofit organization as “a leader in reducing both hunger and food waste in America by connecting the vast amount of healthy, fresh surplus food with the critical hunger demand.” Not only do they provide aid to the food insecure, but their work also “addresses the significant issue of food waste which is one of the more important contributors to climate change,” according to Shattuck.
Since their start in 2011, Food Rescue US has provided 42 million meals and kept over 57 million pounds of food out of landfill in 33 locations across the country.
“Food Rescue US - Fairfield County distributes food directly to over 115 local nonprofit agencies who directly serve their clients,” says Shattuck. “The populations that our social service agency partners serve include children, families, veterans and seniors who are experiencing food insecurity.” The organization has agency partners located in 15 towns in the area, including Westport, Fairfield and Norwalk.
Due to the COVID pandemic, Shattuck explains, “In Fairfield County, the food insecurity rate is projected to rise from 9.9% to 14.5%… Many of the people needing meals… are looking for help for the first time.” Some local food donors include Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, along with several local farms, hospitals, restaurants and food providers.
Recently, Food Rescue US has launched three new initiatives:
1. Community Kitchen Program — Three local community kitchens, each staffed by food service personnel who prepare meals that are delivered by volunteers to people in need.
2.Restaurant Meal Program— Food Rescue US purchases meals from local restaurants that are delivered by volunteers to local agencies.
3.Farm Distribution Program — Partnerships with local farms to “recover their excess and… expand and recruit new farm partners,” according to Shattuck.