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.
“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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The 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.
Board 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.
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.
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.
Plus, 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!
If 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!