The Match.com of Rescued Food

We live in an age where all kinds of match-making happens on the internet—everything from Match.com for dating, to E-Bay for stuff, to Yelp for local services. Community Food Rescue (CFR) is the match maker for rescued food in Montgomery County. Even before we launch our automated, web-based matching platform this year, the 26 organizations that currently participate in CFR have made some great and even unusual matches through our temporary Listserv. Here are just a few examples:

Montgomery County Public Schools & Julie’s Food Pantry

American Fidelity Assurance Company (AFAC) was scheduled to meet with staff from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and have fresh cut fruit and pastries from by Royal Bagel Bakery and Deli in Germantown. However a snowstorm closed MCPS and the meeting was cancelled at the last minute. Kevin Trostle, Director of Operations at Manna Food Center gets a call to see if they would accept 30 boxes of this food. He accepts and AFAC drops off the food. Kevin posts the donation to CFR and within 10 minutes, staff from Julie’s Food Pantry claims the donation. They pick up nearly 300 lbs. of fruit and pastry from Manna the same day.

CFR Fruit and pastries

Marriott’s Test Kitchen & Rainbow CDC

John Huppman, Culinary Operations Manager at Marriott International Headquarters in Bethesda gets to test a lot of food products. His staff may taste some scrambled eggs, pastries, or pizza. But he receives cases of food shipped from the manufacturers and can’t use most of it. He called CFR and explained that he had 450 lbs. of frozen food that he needed to move within the week to make room in his freezer. His request was posted on CFR and within an hour, Pat Drumming, Executive Director at Rainbow Community Development Center claimed the donation and picked it up two days later in her truck (partially funded by a County capacity building grant).

Rainbow Community Development Center (2 of 7)

John and Pat were both thrilled with the match. Pat reported that of the 450 lbs. they had to discard  only 25 lbs. that were unusable. “There was a good variety of food, even pizza!” Pat explained. “The food was distributed the next day to our clients.”

John reported, “The pickup worked out great. Thanks for making the contact.” After learning about CFR’s plans to automate our matching system, he shared, “I like the fact that you are going to create a web-based matching service for all the local food recipient charities so that I can easily share our food donations; it makes a lot of sense.”

Special Formula & Special Needs Student

Jenna Umbriac, Director of Nutrition at Manna Food Center posted this donation. “I realize this is not a typical item we talk about in our food rescue circles, but I’m hoping that someone in the group may have a connection to a family or agency that could use tube feeding formula for children. I’ve contacted The Children’s Inn at NIH since I usually find a home for specialized formulas there but they declined the offer.  Any ideas are welcome.  We don’t use the product but I’d hate to see it go to waste.”

Within the hour, Mark Hodge, Sr. Administrator at the County’s Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services who also chairs the Food Recovery Working Group wrote, “I have found a family with a special needs child at Longview School in Germantown who would be VERY happy to take this; it’s very expensive!”

These are just three examples of perfectly good food that is saved from the landfill every day by many hunger relief organizations. Last year eleven CFR participating hunger relief organizations reported that 3.4 million pounds of food was rescued, valued at $8 million. We know that there’s a lot more food being rescued and redistributed; we just haven’t identified these organizations yet. We also know that there are approximately 4,000 licensed food businesses in Montgomery County. With the help of our food rescue recruiters; automated software; outreach, training and recognition programs; and Food Recovery Working Group advisors, Community Food Rescue is excited to accelerate matchmaking in 2015—watch out Match.com!

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