FRP Chair, Christina McDonough (Community Transformation Specialist at the Scott County Health Department), joined Mike Miller (President & CEO of the River Bend Foodbank) and Ann McGlynn (Executive Director of Tapestry Farms) to explain what it means to be food insecure, how the COVID-19 Pandemic has brought more awareness to the issue, and what programs in the Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois communities are doing to address this complex problem.
For a second year, the Food Rescue Partnership has won a Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) Regional Award!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presents the awards each year. “We applaud the Food Rescue Partnership for their initiative and innovation in reducing food waste throughout the Quad Cities community,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford in the official announcement from the EPA. “Thanks to their combined efforts, this community coalition has helped the Quad Cities reduce hunger, save money, and protect the environment by diverting food waste from landfills.”
“The Food Rescue Partnership educates local food establishments about food recovery. So it was a natural fit to become part of the FRC,” said FRP Board Chair Christina McDonough. Some of the activities that helped cinch this award for the FRP include:
Continuing to coordinate food rescue donations and divert food from the landfill, currently at over 52,000 pounds
“Food Recovery Challenge participants are leaders in showing how preventing food waste and diverting excess wholesome food to people is an environmental win and a cost-saving business decision,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The majority of FRP activities and materials have been provided through volunteerism, in-kind donations, or grants from stakeholders and community partners. FRP stakeholders continually strategize new and unique opportunities to highlight its Members in Food Rescue and spread the food recovery message.
“This recognition is possible by the hard work and commitment of our stakeholders and community partners,” said McDonough. “Together, we are making the Quad Cities a community dedicated to eliminating food waste.”
We have been receiving and fielding questions about COVID-19 and food donation. Please know there is no correlation between food and COVID-19, other than the risk of increased food waste because of canceled events and business closures. Food donations are still being accepted by non-profit hunger-relief agencies.
Just yesterday, Christina coordinated freshly prepared corned beef brisket, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to Café on Vine. Yolanda rescued Happy Joe’s Pizza from the West Locust Street location.
The FRP Board added a food donation message to the homepage and Lea continues to keep our Facebook page updated. We would also like to highlight community efforts that have begun taking place without direct Food Rescue Partnership efforts, and were inspired by pure compassion and willingness to adapt to follow COVID-19 recommendations:
Chef Chris Carton established a “QC Safe Community Kitchen Operation” under the RiverCenter’s food license to prepare and distribute perishable food that would have been otherwise wasted. You can read about his efforts on our Facebook post here.
River Bend Foodbank, The Salvation Army, Red Cross, and Scott County Emergency Management are collaborating to accept and distribute shelf-stable food.
This is an important time to provide food rescue education and awareness.
What You Can Do
Please reach out to your favorite food establishments and help facilitate food donations. If possible, track of your efforts and report back to the FRP board so we can document our efforts in the work plan.
Like, comment, and share FRP Facebook and food rescue messages. We’re wanting to get the word out that food donations can still happen, especially with all the perishable foods in danger of being thrown away at closed businesses.
Let us know if there are other community efforts, food rescue, or donations we can help share – we want to recognize that these efforts ARE happening in the Quad Cities to help get MORE of them to happen.
Together, we can make a direct impact in the Quad Cities by keeping food as a valuable resource.
Your FRP Board – Christina McDonough, Pete Vogel, Lea Hensel, and Larry Linnenbrink
Dear Food Rescue Partnership Stakeholders and Friends,
As we ring in the New Year and a new decade, I would like to reflect on the last year and what is to come for the Food Rescue Partnership.
In 2019, we focused on our Food Rescue Recognition Program. We collaborated with the Iowa Waste Reduction Center to create table tents that recognize our Members of Food Rescue and provide tips to reduce food waste at home. You can see these on the tables at some of our Member locations. The recognition program also added Garden Ministry of Asbury United Methodist Church as a Member of Food Rescue bringing us to 17 local establishments that are participating in food rescue efforts.
I am confident Food Rescue Partnership Stakeholders and Community Partners will continue to be our strongest asset. We have 10 organizations with stakeholders actively involved from both sides of the river ranging from health departments, to non-profits, universities, private companies, and community members, and 11 community partners ranging from local, to statewide, to regional. All our outreach activities and materials have been provided through volunteerism, in-kind donations, and grants from your hard work.
To date, the Food Rescue Partnership has diverted more than 48,455 pounds of food from the landfill by making connections to feed hungry people, feed animals, and/or compost.
This year, I look forward to planning and hosting an inaugural trivia night and our third Food Rescue Workshop while continuing to maintain our food rescue outreach and education. None of which would be possible without your dedication to make the Quad Cities a community dedicated to eliminating food waste. Your hard work is making a direct impact to keep food as a valuable resource. On behalf of myself and the Food Rescue Partnership Board, thank you.
Happy New Year,
Christina McDonough, Board Chair
Need to download a PDF of this letter? Click here.
In case you missed it – Food Rescue Partnership Board Chair shared the following with stakeholders, supporters, and friends to close out 2018.
Dear Food Rescue Partnership Stakeholders, Supporters, and Friends,
As 2018 draws to a close and we find ourselves in the holiday season, I want to express my deepest appreciation for all the work and support you have provided the Food Rescue Partnership this year. As we know from all our hard work this past year, waste and hunger know no season, but a community coalition dedicated to eradicating both can accomplish much. May your holiday season be filled with peace and joy, and may the New Year find you all safe, happy, and healthy.
As a result of the hard work and dedication of you all, 2018 has been another excellent year for food rescue here in the Quad Cities with many important landmarks reached. To attempt to list everything here would be to guarantee that some wonderful accomplishments are missed, but here are just some of the 2018 Food Rescue Partnership highlights:
Official receipt of the EPA Region 7 Food Rescue Challenge Award at the 2018 Midwest Food Recovery Summit
Selection by Fresh Films to have a free 3-minute video and 30-second PSA produced as part of their Spring Break program. The resulting video produced by local teens was wonderful; debuted at a special reception at Augustana on September 26th; and the PSA began being shown on KWQC-TV6 soon after.
And all throughout 2018, the Food Rescue Partnership has facilitated and sometimes directly conducted the rescue and donation of food to hunger-relief agencies in the community.
These milestones directly reflect the work of our committed stakeholders, and FRP’s growing recognition and acceptance in the Quad Cities community. As we look forward to 2019, our mission to promote rescuing food for its best possible use plans to focus on maintaining existing partnerships while forming new ones, and providing ongoing food
rescue education and awareness to our community. Particularly exciting new opportunities to continue and expand our reach include:
Obtaining official 501(c)(3) non-profit status
Partnering with River Bend Food Bank to pilot and promote the Feeding America MealConnect Mobile App
Thank you all again for all you do. The Quad Cities is a better, stronger community for your efforts and support.
Food Rescue Partnership Board Chair
Yolanda Jefferson has been professionally cooking since she was 15 years old. At age twenty, Yolanda fostered an extraordinary passion to reduce food waste from Blckpearl Catering, a full-service catering company, by donating excess food to non-profits in the Quad Cities!
Food Recue Partnership (FRP) Board Vice-Chair, Christina McDonough, first met Yolanda at the Scott County Health Department ServSafe Class in November 2018 and describes Yolanda as a person that immediately captures your attention and desire to do more for others. “Yolanda spoke from the heart to motivate other professional cooks and food handlers in the class to begin donating food,” said McDonough.
“There are so many people struggling, even if you aren’t homeless, sometimes finances are tight,” Jefferson explained. “Two incomes often times isn’t enough to make ends meet or someone in the family might be sick with medical bills. Food is one thing you can always count on bringing people together and making them happy.” We agree. Yolanda donates a variety of remaining food from Blckpearl Catering events such as ham, potatoes, rice, and vegetables.
Blckpearl Catering opened in 2002, and Yolanda took over and rebranded in 2009. When Yolanda isn’t spending time owning, operating, and preparing food for Blckpearl Catering, you will find her cooking for Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. and local churches. When it comes to food rescue, Yolanda believes in “cooking everything” because she “doesn’t like to see food go to waste.” In addition to Blckpearl Catering’s weekly food donations and Jefferson’s volunteerism, Yolanda helps organize the Culinary Throwdown each September to raise awareness and donations for Sickle Cell.
Welcome to the Member of Food Rescue program, Blckpearl Catering! For more information about Blckpearl Catering, like their Facebook page.
Last month, the Food Rescue Partnership welcome another well-known national restaurant to the ranks of the Member in Food Rescue program – Arby’s!
The franchise has been donating food and other supplies to Friendly House in Davenport for the last 15 years! On a larger level, Arby’s participates in the “No Kid Hungry” Campaign . Donations often include various types of meat, cheese, brown sugar, bread, and/or cleaning supplies. Last year alone, Friendly House received $1,000 worth of bacon from Arby’s!
Kevin Ramirez is the Vice President of Operations for Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa locations. Pete Vogel, FRP Board Chair and Kristin Bogdonas, FRP Board Secretary, met with Mr. Ramirez last month to officially welcome Arby’s to the Member in Food Rescue program. Mr. Ramirez said it all got started because they realized how much food was being wasted, and wanted to do something about it. Arby’s recognized that there are a lot of people in need and wanted to give back, so food rescue was a great fit.
Thank you to the Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa Arby’s location for rescuing food and helping to spread the message that food shouldn’t be wasted.
There are two sides to every food rescue story; that of the donor and that of the recipient. The Food Rescue Partnership is excited to welcome a recipient, the Word of Life Church, located in Rock Island, IL, to our Member in Food Rescue program.
Word of Life Church works throughout the community to help those in need. Every other Thursday, Word of Life Church hosts a food pantry at Earl Hanson Elementary School in Rock Island, in partnership with the River Bend Foodbank, and on the third Saturday of each month, Word of Life Church hosts a community kitchen meal site and food pantry in the church’s basement. The community kitchen meal site and food pantry is open and free to the community. This August, Word of Life Church provided meals to 114 families!
“We’ve seen the need in the community and wanted to try to fill it as much as possible,” said Dr. Geri Kruckenburg, Director of the food pantry. For more information about the off-site or on-site food pantry and community kitchen, visit the Word of Life Outreach page.
“I was absolutely overjoyed when receiving the news that the FRP was accepted to be a part of the Fresh Films Quad City Spring Break Program,” says Christina McDonough, FRP Vice-Chair. “As a community coalition, the FRP has a very limited budget and the majority of FRP outreach activities and materials have been provided through in-kind donations or grants. Being selected for the Fresh Films Quad City Spring Break Program gives the FRP a new and unique marketing opportunity that we wouldn’t have otherwise had.”
The process was a strong collaborative effort. FRP board members and stakeholders met with students to talk about the FRP and talk about ideas for video and the script. From there, the Fresh Films staff let the students run with their ideas.
Pete Vogel, FRP Chair said, “After hearing of our selection and learning more about this program, we rather expected a lot of energy and creativity from this group of young people, and we certainly experienced all of that. But what impressed me the most was the commitment to quality and to an ambitious schedule that they demonstrated. It was a joy to see such enthusiasm paired with the dedication to a project and a cause that they all came to embrace, and it shows in the finished product!”
The students wrote the initial script and it went through editing between FRP and Fresh Films. Then they got to use Fresh Films video equipment to take footage of the Quad Cities community and conduct interviews with some of FRP’s Food Rescue Members, including Ross’ Restaurant, Popcorn Charlie’s, and Outback Steakhouse.
“What’s really impressive is the amount of work the students were able to accomplish just over Spring Break,” says Lea Hensel, an FRP stakeholder. “The students asked great questions and had really neat ideas right off the bat.”
From the FRP Board and its stakeholders, thank you for the Fresh Films teams and the students that created our videos. Watch them below and let us know what you think!
The Quad Cities’ Food Rescue Partnership is excited to announce the full agenda for the free Food Rescue Workshop on October 4, 2018, in Davenport, IA.
The workshop agenda features speakers that will cover food waste problems and efforts at a local and regional level, along with a panel discussion highlighting food rescue successes from The Adler Theater/River Center, Panera Bread, and Augustana College. The keynote speaker, Matt Finnegan, from Baked Beer & Bread Co., will discuss strategies to monitor food purchasing and controlling waste by utilizing food to maximum use, as well as through donation to local non-profit organizations, all while sharing how to engage and motivate staff in food rescue efforts.
“We’re excited to have so many well-known Quad Cities establishments sharing their food rescue strategies at the workshop,” says Christina McDonough, Vice-Chair of the Food Rescue Partnership. “Not only will speakers share their successes, they also have great insight into overcoming obstacles to reduce food waste.” In the U.S., we throw away 40% of our food, according to the National Resources Defense Council, while 21,590 people in Scott County and 17,330 people in Rock Island County are food insecure according to Feeding America.
The workshop will take place at the Freight House in Davenport, IA on October 4, 2018, from 2:00-4:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend, and the workshop hopes to draw professional food establishments and retail food store owners, managers, and chefs. Registration and more information is at foodrescueqc.org/workshop.