Blckpearl Catering Recognized for Food Rescue and Volunteerism

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!

Blckpearl Catering 6Food 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-signs-1.jpgBlckpearl 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.

Food Rescue Workshop Releases Full Agenda

FoodRescueWorkshop_FullPageFlyer_v4
Click to download the Food Rescue Workshop flyer.

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.

Holiday Wishes and 2017 Year in Review

Greetings, Food Rescue Partnership Stakeholders,

FRP2As 2017 draws to a close and we enter 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. 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 our stakeholders, 2017 has been an excellent year for food rescue here in the Quad Cities. Here are just some of the 2017 Food Rescue Partnership highlights:

  • Completion of the strategic plan (mission, vision, core values, goals, action steps)
  • Stakeholder Saturdays Facebook posts instituted to highlight Stakeholder contributions
  • A few of our major speaking opportunities:
    • Midwest Food Recovery Summit in September
    • Iowa Hunger Summit in October
  • New members of Food Rescue:
    • Davenport Elks Lodge in May
    • Quad Cities Food Hub in June
  • A Stakeholder tour of Cinnamon Ridge Farms in May
  • Election of our new Vice-Chair Liz Hogan-Wells in July
  • Updating our brochure in September
  • Obtaining FRP-branded promotional materials in November/December

Of special note relevant to our food rescue mission in 2017, the Food Rescue Partnership:

  • Reached 291 people with our food rescue message through community presentations and health fairs
  • Rescued/donated approximately 3,742 pounds of food to hunger-relief agencies in the community

These accomplishments are all direct and tangible results of the work of our committed stakeholders. As we look forward to 2018, our mission to promote rescuing food for its best possible use remains focused 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:

  • Working with Augustana College to update and expand the QC Food Accessibility GIS map
  • Forming a new collaboration with St. Ambrose University as a client for their Spring 2018 Strategic Communications Campaigns class

Thank you all again for all you do. The Quad Cities is a better, stronger community for your efforts and support.

Best regards,
Pete Vogel, Food Rescue Partnership Board Chair

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!