So not known to many people, but I have a place in my heart for the homeless. In a country as rich as ours, no one should be going hungry, ever. Since this is the season where we feel a little more generous and want to give back to the community, I wanted to feature a new charitable venture: LeftOversYEG
A bit of background story first…
At my wedding, it was a huge eye opener. We had a lot of food left over and we wanted to be able to pack everything up and make sure that someone who needed it could benefit from it. We discovered that the shelters will not accept any food that has not been prepared in a commercial kitchen. Period.
I have been doing my best since then to make sure that people that are using the shelter system still have a means of being able to enjoy a good home-cooked meal without having to go through the shelter. I discovered that there are several groups of people that get together and bring crockpots full of good, hot food directly to the shelters and feed those folks outside that are waiting for a spot to sleep that night.
As a food journalist, I like to keep on top of the latest trends and I am always keeping an ear to the ground for anything food related.
Food insecurity has been a subject that has come up a few times over the past year.
From the Leftovers Calgary website:
“Close to half of food produced worldwide is wasted. Discarded in processing, transport, grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries and kitchens. The Leftovers Foundation is an non-profit organization that rescues food that would otherwise be thrown into the landfill, and ensures it gets to service agencies in need. We deliver perishable food to these locations to reduce food waste and deliver the excess to those in need. We are an organization working to find solutions of a global issue.
Food waste is a $31 billion dollar industry in Canada and 25% of Canadians live in food insecure households.”
Needless to say when Chef Daniel Huber took over the reins of LeftOversYEG, I was very intrigued and had to find out what it was all about.
RR What does food insecurity mean to you?
DH The inability for any Canadian, of any walk of life, income and lifestyle, to access healthy and nutritional food. That can take the shape of a lack of healthy retail or commercial choices in your neighbourhood. All the way to a lack of knowledge on how to cook. As well as having the means to end hunger in a community on the basis of what people throw away.
RR What inspired you to step up and take over Leftovers YEG?
DH To put it bluntly, it is a productive way to both help the community and myself. I get to use my knowledge to help others and I saw an opportunity to get Edmonton on board with an amazing idea. It’s a no brainer.
RR Tell me a bit about Leftovers YEG – what is your main goal?
DH To reroute items that are otherwise completely safe and tasty from being thrown out due to misconceptions, blemishes and a lack of access.
RR What do you need from the community to make this venture successful?
DH Volunteers, get involved at www.rescuefood.ca . Come out to events and lend support to change policy locally, provincially and federally. Also, stay tuned for a sweet YouTube channel on how to cook smart and make batches of food that are easy to reheat and use with no waste.
RR Who are the agencies that are currently involved?
DH We have a handful of key partners in the community now, and will be gladly joining up with others as the volume of donations rise. Agencies in the same vein as Bissell are what we target. We will be updated our partnership list Jan 1!
RR How does a restaurant or retailer get involved with this initiative?
DH Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and my team will get everything going.
RR What does a volunteer shift look like?
DH It looks like whatever you can do. You drop us a line and we plug you in where it works. If your schedule doesn’t work for our routes we put you on a waiting list and plot it out as soon as we can.
RR What are the requirements to be a volunteer?
DH We have a simple application process to ensure we cover all the basis for health and safety requirements and you must have all your proper vehicle insurance, licensing etc. There is also a super serious waiver. Because saving the world sometimes requires fearless folks!
RR Where do we go to sign up?
DH www.rescuefood.ca and follow the links!
RR How can we help get the word out?
DH Share us on social media and tell everyone you know. A great idea only requires a handful of passionate people to catch fire.
So there you have it folks! A simple way to make a difference in your own community and help make some full bellies while making our city a better place to live. Win/win!
Please do help spread the word, tell your friends about this great organization. Volunteer to take a delivery route, show up and lend a hand, there is lots to be done!
Watch my EVENTS page for any LeftOversYEG events!