Mission: Food belongs in bellies - not landfills: Waste Not Want Not exists to prevent the discarding of items that can be used to fight hunger and poverty in our community. Our volunteers rescue food daily from stores, restaurants, vendors, farmers’ fields and neighbors’ gardens. We distribute this perishable food promptly to people fighting hunger in Clay and surrounding counties. These men, women, and children, our neighbors, enjoyed two million pounds of wholesome food last year - food that, but for our volunteers’ efforts would have gone to waste.
What happens to the heart-shaped cakes on February 15, the unbroken eggs in a carton with two that are cracked, the unsold food at your favorite restaurant at closing time, or the unpicked oranges on neighbor’s trees? All these are wasted; thrown away. In a country where one resident in six is food-insecure, one-quarter of all food produced is discarded before it reaches a consumer. But not here in North Florida where Waste Not intercepts food that may be unmarketable or "imperfect" but is perfectly wholesome and safe to consume. Not here in North Florida where Waste Not fights hunger by distributing that rescued food to 2,000 people struggling to put food on the table every day.
No one should go hungry while good food goes to waste: Learn more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUMgyebt3H4
Results: Fighting hunger by rescuing food creates unique challenges and opportunities. Our challenge is responding to an unpredictable supply of semi-perishable food: we never know exactly what we will receive, and unlike shelf-stable food at food pantries, rescued food is perishable and must be distributed promptly. Because rescues vary from baked goods, produce, dairy, to prepared foods, drinks, and meat, we have a unique opportunity to help all kinds by sorting the food based on their needs. Children taking weekend backpacks home find them filled with small, easy-to-prepare items; struggling families receive groceries; students at afterschool programs receive pizza and drinks; diners in soup kitchens, group homes, or churches with full kitchens enjoy prepared foods such as soup, vegetables, lasagna, and chicken; and homeless served in the woods find individually packaged sandwiches, drinks, desserts, and fruit in their bags. By matching food to our recipients’ needs, Waste Not volunteers ensure that whatever we rescue is put to good use. Every week last year, at least 14,000 people ate food rescued by Waste Not Want Not volunteers.
Waste Not Want Not rescues food, helps people, and increases financial donors’ impact. Every dollar donated to Waste Not, magnified by the efforts of our volunteers, provides 14 pounds of food to people in 10 counties struggling to put food on the table. Receiving food from Waste Not for free allows our recipient groups to do more; to feed more people or to spend more of their limited funds on non-food services. Every financial gift to Waste Not results in benefits to our community that are much greater in value than the value of the donation.
Target demographics: those suffering from hunger
Direct beneficiaries per year: 14,000 people each week
Geographic areas served: North Florida
Programs: Food Rescue and Distribution. In 2016, we distributed two million pounds of food to local charities serving those in need. This food, which would otherwise have been discarded, instead was provided to men, women and children, seniors and homeless people.