time for spring cleaning food driveEvents

It’s Time For Spring Cleaning

Let’s Gear Up for “Summer To End Hunger” Food Donation Event

Springtime is the best season to think about cleaning out cabinets and drawers and we want to help you make room for summer with some ideas to feel better and make an impact!

Your Kitchen Cupboards Called to Say: “Help!”

Overstocked with Pandemic shutdown “hoarding,” our cupboards may be filled with too much food. Check the labels and start putting food items in a box that are not going to get used. Donating overstocked non-perishable foods are a wonderful way to organize and make an impact in your community.

Food Drives Help To Feed People With The Most Need

So much of our foods get thrown away when they can be donated and redistributed through organizations like Food Finders. See our Food List below

When You Donate Food To Avoid Food Waste and Help The Environment

Food banks are especially important in the food distribution process.  They work with their local communities to ensure that everyone has access to healthful foods. They solicit, receive, store, and distribute fresh produce (when available) and pantry staples (like the foods we are listing below). 

Food Banks and Pantries help people get connected to other essential benefits and serve as community hubs for volunteers who are serving their local communities.

How To Host A Food Drive

Any business, community center, Library, retailer, or city location can host a food drive.  Food Finders will provide a storage bin, signage, and donation food lists. Food Finders will also arrange to pick up all the collected food items from you! 

Email meden@foodfinders.org or give Mark a call at 562-283-1400 Ext 117.

Food Drive

What Kinds of Food Can You Donate?

1.  Applesauce

Plastic jars of unsweetened applesauce serve as a great quick snack with just enough fiber and vitamin C. Applesauce is also a smart choice because it preserves well on food bank shelves.

2. Canned Beans

Full of protein and fiber, canned beans offer a superb and nourishing way to fill an empty tummy. Try to look for low-sodium variations whenever available.

3. Canned Chicken

While canned chicken may seem like a simple choice, it is high in protein content and can be a perfect item for those on the go. Additionally, its versatility makes it a popular item at food banks. Try adding this non-perishable item into soups, casseroles, sandwiches, or crackers!

4. Canned Meat (SPAM and Ham)

Do you have some extra SPAM or canned ham? If so, make sure to drop it off at your local food donation site. It’s shelf-stable, does not require much preparation or equipment to eat, and provides a quick source of protein that keeps individuals feeling full for longer periods of time.

5. Canned Fish (Tuna and Salmon)

Canned fish has various vitamins, especially omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Many food banks are in need of canned tuna and salmon because it makes for such a convenient and easy meal.

6. Canned Vegetables

Residents in need are continuously requesting lively, nutrient-dense, and fiber-rich vegetables. Make sure to grab low-sodium options. Canned variations also last the longest on a food bank’s shelves. Food banks frequently hand out recipes that utilize the items they have in stock. 

7. Crackers

Are an ideal snack or can be used as a base for canned proteins. They are also shelf-stable and portable, making them perfect for snacks and lunches. Whole-grain crackers are the best bet.

8. Cooking Oils (Olive and Canola)

Food banks heavily depend on these essential and costlier items to be donated. Canola and olive oils are the preeminent choices because of their monounsaturated fats and minor flavor. 

9. Dried Herbs and Spices

It is hard to cook a flavorsome meal without herbs and spices. So, drop a few in your shopping cart to donate! We suggest sticking to the fundamentals: oregano, basil, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and cinnamon.

10. Fruit (Canned or Dried)

Fruit, whether dried, canned or in plastic cups can make superb snacks for young children and adults. Select those that are packaged in water or fruit juice instead of sugary syrups.

11. Nuts

With a handful of nuts, they deliver protein and nutrients instantaneously, which has made them perfect for snacks and lunches. Food banks have a difficult time obtaining them due to their higher price, so they heavily rely on donations. Go for unsalted varieties when possible.

12. Granola Bars

Food banks are continuously in need of fast and easy items that families can throw into lunches or eat on the go. Granola bars are the answer. Try to look for the ones that have fewer grams of sugar, made with oats, or other whole grains.

13. Instant Mashed Potatoes

Instant potatoes last a very long time and require minimal cooking tools and ingredients. They are also a beloved staple item in every age group, making an item that goes quickly off Food Banks’ shelves. 

14. Grocery Meals in a Box

An entire meal that’s shelf-stable and in one package is the best way to nourish a hungry tummy. It is very popular with those who do not have a stocked kitchen or tools needed to prepare a meal. The best options are pasta, rice, and soup kits (particularly those that are lower in sodium and higher in fiber and protein). 

15. Pasta

In Food banks, pasta is a staple item since it can be easily turned into a meal. Opt for whole-grain selections that offer more fiber and nutrition compared to white pasta.

16. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a high source of protein that can be eaten alone or combined with other food items. Since both children and adults like it, peanut butter is easily one of the most desired items at food banks.

17. Rice

This popular item is filling, versatile, easy to prepare, and store. Consider substituting white rice for brown rice instead because it is a healthier option with much more fiber to offer. Quinoa is another great alternative item to donate if feasible.

18. Shelf-stable and Powdered Milk

The best part of this item is that no refrigeration is required to keep it fresh, which makes it available to everyone. More importantly, milk delivers a much-needed source of calcium and protein (especially for a developing child).

19. Whole Grain Cereal

This is another popular item with all age groups. Whole-grain cereal makes for a healthy and quick breakfast or snack. Some selections are low in sugar and high in fiber that helps provide nutrients to good digestive bacteria, which then release substances that help lower levels of inflammation body-wide.

20. Honey

This is a sweet, viscous food substance that can be used as a natural sweetener. It is rich in antioxidants and propolis, which each promote burn and wound healing. It can also be used to help suppress coughing in children. 

21. Soup, Stew, and Chili

These substances act as a warm and satisfying lunch or dinner. You can find these items in canned or packaged form and they are often sold as a complete meal with protein (meat) and veggies. If possible, attempt to find reduced-sodium alternatives.

What to skip when donating to your local food bank:

  • Junk food (chips, cookies, candy) 
  • Packaged items with glass or cellophane (these can be easily broken in transit)
  • Items that require can openers or cooking equipment
    • Instead, try to donate pop-top cans–whether for veggies, meat or fruit

Start Your Own Food Drive with Food Finders Help. Learn More https://foodfinders.org/event/summer-to-end-hunger-food-drive/

READ MORE
Events

Food Finders Kicks Off its 33rd Birthday Month

April marks our 33rd Birthday at Food Finders!

On April 1st, to kick off the month, we launched our annual Birthday Campaign to help grow our food rescue operations. When you think about all that has happened over 33 years—one woman starting to collect food in her garage to now where we are rescuing food with refrigerated trucks then sorting and packing donated food in a square food warehouse—we are certain to meet all of our goals and make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger here in Southern California!

Growth in our 33rd year is a priority. Now more than ever we are working together to make a strong social impact that will affect future generations to come!

Growing Our Food Operations

As you may know, our mission here at Food Finders is to eliminate hunger and food waste through food rescue. This operation is led by our wonderful team of passionate and dedicated volunteers, donors, partner agencies, community members–and of course, an incredible group at our office and warehouse in Los Alamitos. This month we will be highlighting a different aspect of our operations each week and spotlighting key team members who run the operation.

What is the overall goal?

Our goal is to raise $75,000 towards our food rescue operations. While I know this may seem like a large amount of money, it is going to a good cause. In 2021, for example, we had a goal to raise $50,000 and our grand total was $62,454–a huge success that allowed us to rescue 15, 917, 982 Pounds of Food!!

2022 Business Types for food donations

Our focus for this year is on our operations.

In 2022, the State of California SB- 1383 went into effect. SB 1383’s statute requires businesses in certain categories to begin the repurposing of not less than 20% of edible food that they currently dispose of be recovered for human consumption.

We have a new Food Acquisitions Team to meet the demand: Tray Turner and Mark Eden, who are out meeting with our current Food Donors while also updating our processes and adding in new businesses each day.

In the month of January, our Food Acquisitions department started off with some amazing numbers:

Food Finders Rescued – 1,238,000 Pounds of Food – that is over 1 Million Meals that were delivered by our non-profit partners in January 2022. And in addition to rescuing and repurposing food (that normally would have ended up in a landfill), we also helped planet Earth 672,410 Pounds of CO2 diverted as well as 564,675,000 Gallons of water saved!

Inside the Food Finders Warehouse

Warehouse Sorting Bins

The Food Finders Warehouse is a busy place. On any given day, there will be volunteers sorting and packing bags or boxes while trucks are pulling up in the back to deliver pallets of food. Without our invaluable warehouse team, though, we would not be able to rescue as much food as we have in the past 33 years that Food Finders has been operating.

Cesar Herrera, our Warehouse Manager, runs the show where he is constantly moving and shifting around staple food items to our food programs. These items significantly increase depending on the time of day, week or year. Last week, we had Fox News Channel 11 visit us to talk about our work and relationship with the Kaiser Permanente Food Donors.

Our Birthday Milestone is Important

With your birthday donations last year, we were able to continue to grow as COVID was winding down, and this year we are on track to grow our team, update and purchase more food delivery trucks, and rescue more food as the demand from businesses rises in 2022.

Make a donation below or Text: FF33Bday to 71444.

Want Another Way To Help Us Make An Impact?

In the digital age it is so easy to support and advocate for Food Finders.

The largest Social Media Network, Facebook, has a great personal fundraising tool that gives each one of us the power to make change by enlisting our family and friends in the fight against hunger, food waste and the resulting global problems from both.

Start A Personal Fundraiser

facebook-fundraising-for-food-finders

Facebook Fundraising

If you invited 10 friends to donate $10 to your “Fight Hunger” fundraiser, you would be providing 11,000 meals to help fight food insecurity in your community.

Visit this link for step by step instructions on how to set up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook.

Mobile Fundraising

For those of you who do not have a Facebook page, use your Mobile Phone!

Here is a link to the Food Finders Crowdfunding Page. The process is the same–set up your personal page and ask 10 friends to make a $10 (or more) donation to help us continue to rescue food and help to feed the communities in our neighborhood.

Celebrate Our 33 Years

Stay tuned during the entire month of April to learn about each part of our Food Rescue Operations. Start your fundraiser, or reach out to us to volunteer! Everything we do makes an impact.

Nicole Swayne is a Digital Marketing Intern at Food Finders. She is a student at Cal State Long Beach.

READ MORE
Community

Girl Scout Troop 2863: Making A Difference

The Girl Scouts Bronze Award

According to the Girl Scouts: When a troop goes for the Bronze Award, they are representing what Girl Scouts can achieve in their communities. And it’s not just earning a patch and its done!

Earning the Girl Scout Bronze Award involves planning, commitment and the time to complete an Impact Journey in their community. They must build a team; explore their community; choose a project that will have a longer term impact; plan what to do; put that plan into motion; and then spread the word about what they are doing!

They will be out in the community talking about their program, progress and the impact of their volunteering long into the future.

Troop 2863 from Long Beach has chosen Food Finder’s Food 4 Kids Program as their Bronze Award project. Prior to COVID, the Food 4 Kids Program was delivering 385 bags of food every week to 15 Title 1 Long Beach Elementary Schools. In many cases, these bags of food provided families with their only weekend food option.

Starting the Food 4 Kids program back up is exciting for Food Finders because the program was halted during COVID. With the Girl Scouts here to help pack the bags of food, and then deliver them to the schools we are able to get the Food 4 Kids bags out of the warehouse and into the hands of families faster. Groups like the Girl Scouts can help us to fill the need for volunteers needed in the early afternoon hours. Many volunteers can only come early in the morning or late in the day but these bags of food need to be delivered just before school lets out on Friday–just in time for school kids heading home for the weekend.

What Is A Title 1 School?

According to the Department of Education a Title 1 School is: a school in which children from low-income families make up at least 40 percent of enrollment and are eligible to use Title I funds to operate schoolwide programs that serve all children in the school in order to raise the achievement of the lowest-achieving students. For the city of Long Beach, Title 1 students are about 85% of enrollment!

Providing meals for the weekend is critical to the learning of children when they return to class on Monday. One of the site directors at Lincoln Elementary told us: “We noticed that bringing this partnership to our site brought our families closer to the program. It created a better school climate where families felt cared for and considered outside their child’s academics. Families’ well-being and needs became attended to and the responses (to picking up the bags) showed great need.”

Hunger Impacts Learning

The consequences of going hungry on a child are long term. We already know that hunger curbs a child’s physical development but did you know that it also inhibits their ability to focus and perform in class? If children cannot learn how can they have any hope of lifting themselves out of poverty?

The Food 4 Kids Program is an opportunity for all of us to give a child a helping hand somewhere in the future. This is the key to the Bronze Award program Troop 2863 is working on right now. If they can pack and sort, and then deliver food to kids in their own community, then those kids have a better chance of learning more in school. If they learn more their opportunities in life are increased. Everyone benefits!

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” (Sally Koch)

As Girl Scouts, these girls in Troop 2863 know that they will earn this Bronze award with courage,
confidence, and character because this work to help kids in food-insecure communities is a small act of kindness that will make a big difference in the world they are growing up into!

#GirlScouts #FoodFindersInc #Food4Kids

If you would like to volunteer at Food Finders please contact Kevin Burciaga kburciaga@foodfinders.org or learn more

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
Giving

A Trifecta of Giving With Food Finders

A donor of ours recently shared that he loves supporting Food Finders, which he started doing through his company giving campaign, then began volunteering as a food rescuer where he sees the program benefits firsthand. “It’s like I’m helping 3 organizations at once–Food Finders, the recipient, and the food donor.” It’s a wonderful testament on how to have a huge impact with a single focus.

We call it the Trifecta of Giving.

Food Finders’ mission is two-fold, which is to help reduce hunger and help the environment by rescuing food and reducing food waste. We tend to emphasize the former more than the latter in our messages and outcomes, but let’s look at some real and impactful numbers overall.

Food Finders provides an average of 30,000 meals worth of food…DAILY! Hard to imagine, but given that millions of pounds of fresh produce, dairy products, meats, prepared foods, baked goods, and nonperishables are donated annually, it adds up quickly, and the more donors realize we’re a resource, the more it adds up. Your donation, be it money or food or volunteer time, helps us run a well-oiled nonprofit and ensure we connect all the dots—or food–efficiently. So, you’re already a part of a bigger picture just by helping Food Finders.

Which leads us to the second arm of the trifecta — our partner agencies. Right now, we serve more than 550 nonprofit partners that are spread across four Southern California counties. That’s a huge reach. This includes large missions that feed hundreds of people daily down to small recovery homes that feed roughly a dozen people. When volunteers come and pack a few dozen food boxes or rescue a hundred pounds of fresh food, dozens of people in need can eat as a result, all in exchange for an hour or two of time. It also means those agencies providing the food directly can save some of their hard-earned funding to use on other services or spread their dollar farther. How rewarding is that?

When it comes to helping our more than 700 food donors, we’re more in demand now than ever. Many businesses are having to reduce their organic waste by 75%, per new state mandates. Restaurants, grocers, food distribution centers, and even a corporate kitchens, schools and hospitals must ensure that excess food is diverted, meaning composted, converted to animal feed, or our favorite, donated to feed people, because starting January, fines will be enforced. Many businesses are already a step-ahead and have been donating food overages for years. Saving money for our food donors so they can do the right thing is a no-brainer, and the third arm of our trifecta.

Sounds like a win-win-win so far!

But, wait, there’s more. Our environment appreciates your support as well. Imagine what it means when 16 million pounds of wholesome food is diverted from landfills? Thankfully, someone already calculated for us. It means 8.6 million pounds of Co2e are eliminated. It also equates to 7,296,000,000 (that’s not a typo) gallons of water saved. Food takes a lot of water to grow, plus labor and transportation to get it to market. You’re essentially helping our planet when you support Food Finders.

One final bonus—supporting our organization, you are helping YOU. Sharing a kindness keeps us well mentally and all around.

So, on behalf of everyone we serve, thank you for choosing to support Food Finders. Be well.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
Community

Not Just Happy Holidays, Happy Memories

We’re approaching the time of year so many people see as the break in a long string of busy months and repeated tasks that constitute everyday life. The holidays—no matter your practice, beliefs, or customs, are a time to celebrate and convene with family and friends, if only for a day or two.

At places like Food Finders, it’s the busiest time of year, with food distributions often doubling and partners asking for specialty items or hoping for extra food like turkeys and other traditional fare to give to individuals and families who, like everyone else, look forward to a special meal they can share with those they love.

Beyond food, we know we’re providing things like hope, security, stability, and even joy. What do you think of when you think of holidays? Do you have a favorite food you look forward to eating in front of the fireplace? You might host a potluck at work or bake for friends? Maybe you visit family that you live away from or take a special trip that holds meaning for just that time of year.

It’s not just about food, but about memories.

Like, remember the time you made your first turkey and how great it turned out? How your grandpa told the best jokes whenever he drank a little eggnog? Or what about the time you had tacos instead of a traditional meal and it was the best holiday dinner you’d ever had because of who you shared it with?

We know that food is the gateway to so many holiday highlights, albeit a huge part, and can mean the difference between a wonderful experience and a woeful one. Which is why we make the extra effort to plan, produce and provide so much during this time of year. Being a resource that can make the difference between a forgettable and a memorable holiday is extra meaningful, and hearing stories of gratitude make it that much more rewarding.

We hope you’ll play a part in this year’s holiday season that involves giving back, whether it’s food or something equally important. To learn more about what Food Finders is doing, see our events page.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
Support Food Finders and Give #MoreThanJustFood

Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.