Did you know that approximately 60% of the food Loaves & Fishes distributes is from our food rescue program? The remaining food comes from food drives (20%) and food that we purchase (20%). Our trucks make many weekly stops to local grocery stores that partner with us. The food we rescue is a result of overproduction, being close to its sell-by date, or is slightly blemished. Once it is rescued, it is brought to our facility at High Grove Lane, where volunteers diligently sort it to make sure it is suitable for distribution.
Loaves & Fishes follows careful guidelines when determining if foods are safe to eat past the sell-by-date.
“We monitor freshness in our rescue process that helps prevent unnecessary food waste but gives families plenty of time to consume the item safely,” says Jane McDonald, Loaves & Fishes Director of Community Health.
Pre-COVID, Loaves & Fishes was rescuing about 300,000 pounds of food a month. When the pandemic hit, the supply and demand shifted, and food rescue was scarce. We have begun to see an increase, and in February, we rescued 228,860 pounds of food.
Many of our local food partners have more food to offer than our current space can accommodate. The good news is that this is about to change. In June, Loaves & Fishes will be opening up a new facility in Aurora that will serve as our “hub,” where we will receive, process, and store all the food we distribute. It will also have substantially more refrigeration and freezer space to store produce and dairy. The project, Building for Lasting Impact, will substantially increase the number of families served, expand our geographic service area, increase the amount of healthy food offered, and provide an omnichannel distribution for our clients.
“The new building provides a tremendous opportunity for us to handle a much larger quantity of fresh food. Our food partners are pivotal in making this happen, and we are grateful for their support,” said Cary Gilkey, VP Operations, Loaves & Fishes Community Services.
We are grateful for our grocery partners and our dedicated volunteer drivers who make our food rescue program happen. Together we are helping our planet, fighting food insecurity, and making a difference in the lives of struggling families in our community.