Local Chefs Recognized for Heroic Food Rescue Efforts during COVID-19

The Quad Cities Food Rescue Partnership added a new feature to their biennial event with the announcement of the Quad Cities first-ever Food Rescue Warrior and Member of the Year. 

Chris Carton, Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef; Pete Vogel, Food Rescue Partnership; and Christina McDonough, Food Rescue Partnership
Chef Chris Carton, Pete Vogel, Christina McDonough

“Chef Chris Carton of the RiverCenter|Adler Theatre exemplifies food rescue on a daily basis,” says Christina McDonough, Chair of the Food Rescue Partnership.  “During the particularly difficult pandemic times in our community, the RiverCenter|Adler Theatre is recognized for Chef Carton’s initiative to confirm the ability to operate a safe community kitchen under the RiverCenter|Adler Theatre’s food license so that professional food handlers could volunteer to prepare and serve food that would have otherwise been wasted,” explains McDonough.

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Pete Vogel, Chef Yolanda Graves-Jefferson, Cassandra Nephew, Christina McDonough

Similarly, the Food Rescue Partnership called for nominations of the Quad

Cities first-ever, Food Rescue Warrior.  “Yolanda Graves-Jefferson received heartfelt nominations for her passion to rescue food and feed those in need,” says McDonough.  Graves-Jefferson developed a passion for donating excess food to local hunger relief agencies as the Owner and Chef of Blckpearl Catering.  “Graves-Jefferson knew increasing numbers of people faced illness and unemployment during COVID-19 and utilized her culinary experience and personal resources to feed more than 200 people every week,” explains McDonough.

The Food Rescue Partnership recognized the RiverCenter|Adler Theatre and Yolanda Graves-Jefferson for their heroic food rescue efforts during the Food Rescue Webinar Series.  Webinar recordings will be available for replay here.

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

The Food Rescue Partnership has officially been around for three years. We have a great group of active stakeholders dedicated to food rescue but towards the middle of last year, we reached a crossroads. We gained some traction after the workshop in October 2015 and our research showed two avenues that had real needs in the community – outreach and transportation as well as education and awareness.

But where should our emphasis be placed? And what could we realistically accomplish? With those questions in mind, we embarked on a Strategic Planning Process that began last fall. With the help of our stakeholders, we started with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to get firsthand input on the current strengths and weaknesses, as well as where our focuses should be for the future.

With those results in hand and many discussions looking at the pros versus the cons as well as what we wanted to accomplish versus what was realistic for us to accomplish, we are ready to share the outcomes of the planning process and where we are heading for the future.

New Revised Mission Statement

Multiple variations were discussed to result in the revisions of the FRP mission statement. We wanted to ensure the mission was direct but still broad enough that it could lead us into future efforts of food recovery.

The Food Rescue Partnership is a Quad Cities coalition that promotes rescuing food for its best possible use.

Development of a Vision Statement

The vision statement is really based on the initial concept of the FRP when the Scott County Health Department created it – reducing food waste.

Quad Cities – a community dedicated to eliminating food waste.

Creation of Core Value Statements

Five core values will be used as the FRP moves forward to achieving its goals.

  • Collaboration – Facilitate active partnerships to increase food rescue.
  • Communication – Practice and maintain clear communication with all in order to connect and educate.
  • Community – Cultivate a continually growing group of partners effectively engaged in food rescue.
  • Resourcefulness – Innovate to adapt proactively and develop solutions to ensure the best use of stakeholders’ resources.
  • Safety – Prioritize safety for our donors, recipients, and volunteers during the entire food rescue process.

Goals

No strategic plan is complete without goals and next steps. To keep things simple and moving forward, the FRP decided on two overarching goals with numerous action steps within each goal.

  1. Form and maintain eight new partnerships per fiscal year between community stakeholders to rescue food for its best possible use.
    • This really looks at the core of the coalition – establishing relationships. Connecting recipient agencies and donors and providing the information needed to ensure food is used for its possible use.
  2. Provide monthly food rescue education and awareness to the community at-large.
    • With a focus on building and maintaining the FRP foundation, the second goal the FRP is actively educating and providing awareness throughout the community.

The strategic planning process could not have been completed without the hard work of the many stakeholder organizations that provided their time and input into setting the course for the future. As we continue to move forward, we’ll keep everyone updated on our progress. The best places to stay updated are to like us on Facebook or get involved and become a stakeholder!

Help Augustana Become the Next Campus Kitchen

The Campus Kitchens Project has been helping universities and schools set up campus kitchens in big schools as well as small, rural and urban, colleges and high schools through student-powered hunger relief efforts. In fact, there are 51 Campus Kitchens throughout the country and Augustana College in Rock Island wants to become the next.

Augustana is currently competing with three other schools to receive a $5,000 grant. It will be the only one within almost 200 miles. Each school is able to tailor its Campus Kitchen to the specific needs of the campus and community using the following four components:

  1. Food recovery
  2. Meal preparation
  3. Meal delivery
  4. Empowerment and education

Voting is open from May 2-9 and you can vote once every 24 hours per device. Click below to go to Augustana’s page, watch the video and click the vote button below the video.

Augustana has helped out the QC Food Rescue Partnership so much, let’s do the same for Augustana!

Augustana_Video
Click to visit Augustana’s page on the Next Campus Kitchen Competition