Each weekday at midnight when most of the city is already asleep, delivery specialist Hector arrives at the dock of Worldwide Produce in an industrial section of Los Angeles, where he starts his workday loading up his truck before heading out to make his deliveries to vendors up and down the coast. In a typical day, he’ll deliver produce and other specialty items to a dozen or more restaurants and other businesses. Today he loads strawberries, lettuce, onions, milk and more.
Worldwide Produce (WWP) is one of several area distributors of produce, dairy products, and specialty foods to local restaurants and chain business, Country Clubs, school programs, theme parks and more, all the way from Fresno to the Mexican border. You may have seen one of their more than 100 trucks traveling the local roads and freeways. But while Hector and the rest of his team is out delivering, back at the warehouse are the pallets that make up the undistributed inventory—items purchased from suppliers but not delivered because a vendor reduced their order that week or the anticipated need just wasn’t there.
Enter Food Finders!
Food Finders receives donations 4 days a week from Worldwide Produce as part of an ongoing partnership formed in 2014. Pallets of mixed produce are delivered to a large nonprofit nearby that serves upwards of 1,000 people weekly, many of whom are unemployed or struggle to make ends meet. Some are seniors on low-income, single moms with kids, or disabled veterans with multiple expenses and limited resources.
As part of our food rescue program, we redistribute upwards of 6 million or more pounds of fresh apples, broccoli, beans, onions, strawberries, squash, melons, peppers—basically the rainbow of fruits and veggies–each year. In fact, more than 50% of the donated food we receive is fresh produce from the L.A. produce mart and other vendors, all perfectly edible overages donated to make room for new orders arriving in the next day or two.
Jane Cowan, head of marketing at WWP, shared about the partnership saying, ’Our team has seen the ups and downs of the economy, industry, and marketplace but has always made a point to give back. Not only does it help the community, but it reduces our waste, disposal costs, and labor and helps with storage needs within the warehouse. We always enjoy seeing the Food Finders truck pull up, as we know our unsold food will be reaching the food insecure population within a matter of hours!”
Food Finders is fortunate to be partnered with generous companies that are doing the right thing by donating rather than tossing out edible food. Produce is highly desirable because of its nutritional value—but it also makes up a large amount of what we as consumers waste each year as well. Which is why Food Finders hopes to resume its Healthy Choices Ahead program soon, a program that provides education around nutrition, cooking, food storage and waste reduction, and general budgeting. We’re not only a resource in the supply channel but for the consumer, too! Get more details on how you can donate food, today.
If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate
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