Guess Which Well-Known National Restaurant is the Newest Member in Food Rescue

Last month, the Food Rescue Partnership welcome another well-known national restaurant to the ranks of the Member in Food Rescue program – Arby’s!

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From left to right: Kristin Bogdonas, FRP Board Secretary; Kevin Ramirez, Vice President of Operations for Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa Arby’s locations; and Pete Vogel, FRP Board Chair.

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.

Welcome Word of Life Food Pantry as a Member in Food Rescue

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.

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Board Vice-Chair, Christina McDonough from the Scott County Health Department (left) and stakeholder, Misty Sierens from the Rock Island County Health Department (middle) officially welcomed Dr. Geri Kruckenburg (right), the Director of the church’s food pantry back in August.

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.

Local Grocery Store in Eldridge Becomes Member in Food Rescue

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North Scott Foods, located in Eldridge, IA, is officially a Member in Food Rescue.

The Food Rescue Recognition Program has hit Eldridge with the addition of North Scott Foods.

Board Chair, Pete Vogel, and Vice-Chair, Liz Hogan-Wells visited the grocery store earlier this month to officially award them with their certificate and welcome them as a Member in Food Rescue earlier this month on March 9, 2018.

Staff at the store have been donating food since the mid-1980’s when it just “seemed like the right thing to do because otherwise, it’s a waste.” Since then, they have had some concerns about liability and were thrilled when we explained the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

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Pictured above – Liz Hogan-Wells (FRP), Steve Grolmus (North Scott Foods Owner), Andy Lane (North Scott Foods Store Director), and Pete Vogel (FRP)

Remember that one? The federal and state law that protects companies and organizations from criminal and civil liabilities when they donate, in good faith, to a non-profit organization.

Typical donation items from North Scott Foods includes baked goods, bread, and pastries which go to the North Scott Food Pantry in Eldridge, IA and King’s Harvest in Davenport, IA.

Local produce takes a different route though and goes to the local animal shelter, Down by the Creek Animal Sanctuary in Long Grove, IA, and a farm that houses animals relocated about the closing of a petting zoo. This includes monkeys, a leopard, and other animals. Yes, you read that correctly, a leopard!

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North Scott Foods tackles two tiers of the Food Recovery Hierarchy!

What is really neat about North Scott Food’s donation strategies is that they are one of only a few Members in Food Rescue to tackle multiple tiers of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy. They tackle both Feeding People and Feeding Animals.

Next time you stop by North Scott Foods, pay special attention to the front doors and let us know if you see the Food Rescue Partnership window cling hanging up and be sure to thank them for their efforts to reduce food waste by making sure foods get to people and animals.

New Member in Food Rescue – A Well Known QC Events Center

RCATThe RiverCenter and Adler Theatre are staples not only in Downtown Davenport but here in the Quad Cities.  So it was no surprise that when they wanted to become a Member in Food Rescue, we jumped at the opportunity to add them to the ranks!

Between events, receptions, and conventions, the venue’s kitchen definitely keeps busy! On average, the facility is able to donate 100 pounds of food each month to King’s Harvest, a shelter located just down the street from the events center in Davenport, IA. Being such a large facility, Carton says they are able to donate quite a variety of foods – canned foods, perishables, and proteins. Foods like pork loin, beef round, chicken breasts, fried chicken, fresh vegetables, canned product, and annually, they are able to donate premade entrees, sauces, vegetables, starches, and grains from a food show display they do each year.

Chris Carton, Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef; Pete Vogel, Food Rescue Partnership; and Christina McDonough, Food Rescue PartnershipBoard Chair, Pete Vogel, and Secretary, Christina McDonough, conducted the official presentation welcoming the RiverCenter and Adler Theatre as a Member in Food Rescue on March 14, 2018. Chris Carton, Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef, accepted the welcome on behalf of the events center. Carton has been with the RiverCenter and Adler Theatre for nine years and says they have been donating for at least that long.

Carton did share that one of the problems that keeps them from donating even more food is timing. Being an events center, most of their events end later in the night. At that time, the local food shelters, meal sites, and pantries are not open to accept food so it leaves the center with few options with the leftovers. But aside from that, they’ve been able to keep as much food as possible from the landfill by rescuing it to ensure its’ used as it was originally created – to feed people.

Great work to the RiverCenter and Adler Theatre! We’re excited to have them as a Member in Food Rescue helping the Food Rescue Partnership get closer and closer to our vision of a community dedicated to eliminating food waste.

Dairy Queen in Bettendorf Becomes Member in Food Rescue

DairyQueen(2)Next time you visit the Dairy Queen on 18th Street in Bettendorf pay special attention to the window to spot the Food Rescue Recognition Program sticker hanging up!

That’s right. They are the latest Quad Cities establishment that the Food Rescue Partnership is excited to welcome into the Food Rescue Recognition Program.

Dairy Queen Becomes Member of Food Rescue

The location boasts cool treats with a few hot eats and has been run by the same family for 41 years, owned by Susan Medd (pictured here in the middle) who is the 3rd generation owner. Her daughter, Karlee Lindorfer, and son, Kindred Priest, are general managers and will be 4th generation owners in the future.

When asked how long the location has been donating, Susan wasn’t even sure because it’s been so long. This Dairy Queen typically donates on demand – could be once a week or more infrequently, and typically food donations come from excess inventory ordering; occasional mistakes; when training new employees; or as a seasonal establishment, when it’s time to close up shop for the winter. At those times, Susan donates anything that is left at the end of the season, including chips and cheese, milk, tortillas, buns, etc.

Susan strongly agrees that food waste reduction is important to her business. “Why throw it away? Just because we can’t use it, doesn’t mean someone else can’t,” she says. And those donations go to a variety of entities in the Bettendorf area including nearby organizations and businesses.

Special Merit Award for Ronald MeddPlus, we learned something really interesting while at the Bettendorf Dairy Queen. Did you know that the machine used to make Blizzards was invented by Susan’s father, the second-generation owner, Ron Medd?! Back in 1984, Ron and his brothers worked with a manufacturer in East Moline to invent the machine that became widely used in every Dairy Queen establishment.

Great work to everyone involved at the 18th Street Dairy Queen in Bettendorf!

A Hometown Favorite Becomes a Member in Food Rescue

Ross'LogoIf you’re a Quad Citizan, you likely have at least heard of Ross’ Restaurant and their Magic Mountain, so we are thrilled to announce the iconic establishment as an official Member in Food Rescue.

The 24-hour restaurant has been in the Quad Cities since 1938, and their relationship with food rescue began about 15 years ago when Melissa Freidhof-Rodgers, granddaughter to the restaurant’s founder, came back to the Quad Cities to become general manager. She noticed an opportunity with one ingredient in particular restaurant’s ground beef. First of all, they had a ton of it. And while much of it was able to get repurposed for other dishes like chili, much was still getting wasted.

Freidhof-Rodgers knew there had to be someone that could benefit from the excess meat so she called around to various hunger relief agencies throughout the Quad Cities until she made a connection with Cafe on Vine in Davenport and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fifteen years later, Ross’ still makes regular donations to Cafe on Vine which primarily consist of five-gallon buckets of ground beef. Occasionally donations will include soup, other proteins, and a definite crowd pleaser, the giant cinnamon rolls.

Aside from regular donations, their 2015 move from near the I-74 Bridge to Falcon Avenue resulted in more food donations than normal by clearing out all their products and in particular, ingredients that would no longer be part of menu items. They even made equipment donations as well.

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From left to right: Billie Hornbeak (Ross’ Kitchen Staff), Emmanual Garcia (Ross’ Kitchen Staff, Melissa Freidhof-Rodgers (Ross’ General Manager), Pete Vogel (FRP Board Chair)

In talking with Freidhof-Rodgers, it’s easy to see why Ross’ has continued to build this relationship with Cafe on Vine for so long. Like many we have come across, she believes in food rescue, not for recognition but because it just makes sense. “Small acts for people really help build a community,” she says. Volunteer and community-building were topics she brought up multiple times.

She also emphasizes that having her staff support their food rescue efforts is crucial. Many at Ross’ are involved in the food donations by preparing and transporting the food to Café on Vine.

Congratulations to the Ross’ Restaurant staff. Thank you for the food rescue you have done and will continue to do.

Inaugural Member in Food Rescue: Outback Steakhouse

We are excited to announce the first approved Member in Food Rescue of the Donor Recognition Program is none other than Outback Steakhouse in Davenport, IA. The proprietor, Lindsey Adams, has been leading the donation process since it began in December 2014. “Some people don’t know when or where they’ll get their next meal and we hope this partnership can help,” she says. Since the process started in 2004, King’s Harvest, also in Davenport, has been picking up food twice a week from Outback Steakhouse.

Outback Steakhouse becomes inaugural Member in Food Rescue
From right to left: Pete Vogel (Food Rescue Partnership), Alex Danekas (Outback Steakhouse), Lindsey Adams (Outback Steakhouse), Erin Traeger (Outback Steakhouse), Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain (Food Rescue Partnership, Augustana College)

Earlier this month, Food Rescue Partnership board chair, Pete Vogel and one of the FRP stakeholders from Augustana College, Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain, officially recognized Outback Steakhouse as the inaugural Member in Food Rescue.

“The work you have been doing at Outback in the area of food rescue has been overlooked for far too long in our community,” says Vogel. Adams was presented with a certificate showcasing Outback Steakhouse as a Member in Food Rescue, as well as window clings that you’ll likely see the next time you stop by the restaurant!

Adams has been with Outback Steakhouse since 2003, originally working throughout the Chicago region in a variety of roles. Then in September 2013 she made the Quad Cities home becoming owner of the Kimberley Road restaurant. For those of you familiar with the Food Rescue Partnership, you may recognize her name as she is also the vice-chair of the FRP board and was one of the panelists at the FRP workshop last October.

In talking with Lindsey, she mentioned she isn’t looking for recognition or award which is easy to believe, however, I would like to point out that her efforts in food rescue have resulted in both. Through donating food consistently, the Davenport restaurant was recently recognized as the #2 establishment in terms of food donation. And overall for the year, they are ranked #7 out of over 600 establishments. She views food donation as a no-brainer, something that is just a part of the everyday routine at Outback Steakhouse.

Excess food is stored in the freezer until King's Harvest volunteers arrive for bi-weekly pick-ups.
Excess food is stored in the freezer until King’s Harvest volunteers arrive for bi-weekly pick-ups.

And the routine has become just that, a routine. Any excess food that can be donated is stored in bins in the freezer. This primarily includes honey wheat bread, mashed potatoes, soups, produce, and sometimes even prime rib and sirloin. In addition to excess food, other items such as the onion tops from the Bloomin’ Onions are included in the regular donations as well.

Before pick up, the food is weighed and tracked on the Harvest Food Donation Log provided by the corporate office before being picked up by the King’s Harvest volunteers. From the paper donation log, the information is then tracked online through the Food Donation Connection which holds all of the restaurant’s donation information. As of July 2016, their donations for the year had already surpassed 3,600 meals.

The FRP is pleased to kick off the Donor Recognition Program with Outback Steakhouse. Adams and her team are well deserving of recognition for their dedication to ensure food is provided to people through their relationship with King’s Harvest. Congratulations to the Davenport Outback Steakhouse staff. Keep up the great work!


Learn more about the Donor Recognition Program and sign up here!