Retail Food Rescue: The Backbone of Nutrition
Interfaith Outreach & Community Partner’s Food Shelf serves an average of 2,100 clients per month from its Plymouth, Minn., location. The families who use the Food Shelf come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, but they all need the same thing: nutritious food.
“Nutrition is definitely a big factor for our clients when it comes to determining what foods they choose,” Food Shelf Manager, Patrick Felker, said. “Older clients are concerned about their health. Parents are concerned about their children getting the nutrients they need to grow.”
There’s no doubt that nutrition is important to all families, but it is especially vital to children, who comprise 44 percent of Interfaith Outreach’s clients. Reducing child hunger will improve the life chances of 1 in 8 Minnesota children and help build a future where all children are able to contribute to the health and prosperity of our communities. It’s one of the reasons why Interfaith Outreach decided to engage more with Second Harvest Heartland’s Retail Food Rescue — “rescuing” fresh food from retail partners such as grocery stores and distributing it to food shelves and meal programs.
“We realized what a big role Retail Food Rescue plays. Families definitely prefer fresh produce over canned or frozen,” Felker said. “We’re able to offer a diverse mix of food, including strawberries, leeks, apples, carrots and tofu as well as dairy-free and gluten-free options.”
The Backbone of Fresh Produce Distribution
Felker calls retail food rescue the backbone of Interfaith Outreach’s fresh produce distribution.
“It is difficult for community partners to get perishable donations to us,” he said. “Retail Food Rescue helps us make sure our shelves are always stocked and supply some items we might not otherwise receive.”
Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners, an agency partner of Second Harvest Heartland, has been offering immediate and family support services including food, housing and neighborhoods, education, employment and transportation to Hennepin County communities since 1979.
Second Harvest Heartland’s Retail Food Rescue program collects millions of pounds of produce, dairy, deli, meat, bakery and grocery items from nearly 500 retail partners. The rescued food is then distributed to food shelves, soup kitchens and shelters. Food Rescue not only gets fresh food into the mouths of hungry children and families, it helps the environment by reducing the amount of food that ends up in landfills.
You can help continue to make the Retail Food Rescue program possible by making a gift today.