On July 13, local food rescue and hunger relief organization, 412 Food Rescue took possession of a refrigerated van donated by Whole Foods Market, to be used for transporting food to homes and community access points for food-insecure community members. The van was filled with fresh produce and grocery items from Whole Foods Market, already prepared for its first distribution run.
412 Food Rescue addresses both hunger and food waste by mobilizing volunteers to bring surplus food from retail locations to nonprofits serving people in need. The growing team of 10,000+ volunteer drivers, coordinated by the Food Rescue Hero® technology platform, has redirected more than 15 million pounds of food in western Pennsylvania, equating to 13.2 million meals and mitigating 8.6 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions in the process.
The organization received the van through the Nourishing Our Neighborhoods program, an initiative by Whole Foods Market. 412 Food Rescue is one of seven community-based food rescue and redistribution programs to participate in the program this year, receiving funds to purchase a refrigerated van that will transport 20,000 pounds of rescued food per week from Whole Foods Market and surrounding grocers and retailers.
Since launching in 2020, Nourishing Our Neighborhoods has supported 28 food recovery organizations in 24 markets across the United States and Canada. These vehicles will divert more than 29 million pounds of food from landfills each year, which equates to 242 million meals provided over the anticipated 10-year lifetime use of each van.
“Whole Foods Market is a longtime supporter that has contributed donations for us to transport to people in need for quite some time,” said 412 Food Rescue Co-Founder and CEO Leah Lizarondo. “We’re excited to continue this relationship as we work to bring nourishing food within reach for everyone in our community.”
Scott Allshouse, mid-Atlantic regional president of Whole Foods Market noted, “Nourishing our communities is a priority at Whole Foods Market, especially in these challenging times. We’re proud to put forth a food redistribution solution to reduce food waste and provide both perishable and nonperishable nourishing foods to our communities.”
Retailers have traditionally faced logistical barriers to donating fresh, perishable food, and as a result, most donations to food shelves are of shelf-stable food. The donations distributed by 412 Food Rescue, however, are composed of 80 percent fresh food and 50 percent fruits and vegetables, thanks to the organization’s flexible, ridesharing-style driver network and to resources like the refrigerated Nourishing Our Neighborhoods van.
“We’re concerned not only with food security but also with nutrition security,” said Lizarondo. “Everyone, regardless of their resources, deserves access to a variety of nutritious food.”