Nutrition Talks ProgramCommunity

More Than Just A Meal: Food Finders Nutrition Talks Program

Have you ever wondered what healthy eating looks like for the 38 million Americans currently facing food insecurity?

Nutrition Talks Cooking Demo image 1
Low Carb Burrito Bowl for Jamboree Residents

In response to SB1383, food recovery and donation programs are in full swing, in an effort to reduce organic waste. As more and more grocery stores, schools, and other food generators scramble to establish their food donation programs, nonprofits gather to secure more resources to feed their communities. Food Finders is addressing food scarcity through programs that go beyond providing a meal for a moment or a day. Through our Nutrition Talks program, we are working directly with food insecure individuals to provide nutritional education and resources to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent further organic waste.

More Than Reducing Hunger

Recovery Community Cares Fridge

Our Nutrition Talks Program, co-created and led by our Nutrition Education intern, Kelly Alarcon is available to any one of our nonprofit partners, free of cost. Kelly is in her third year at Cal State University Long Beach, studying Nutrition & Dietetics. Kelly has been leading Nutrition Talks since the start of 2022 and agrees that “securing food is crucial but the need does not end there.” Together, Kelly and I have presented our educational program to several nonprofit partners ranging from sober living residentials to affordable housing organizations. It is evident that more can and should be done in the fight to reduce hunger.

Providing individuals who experience food scarcity with tools to better understand their health and eating habits, we have been able to better assess the impact rescued food has on nutrition, lifestyle, and sustainability practices. In addition to education, we offer tips for healthy eating on a budget and have even added a cooking demo component that works to put those healthy habits into practice. 

Community Education

Nutrition Facts Label Workshop

Although our talks aim to highlight the benefits of choosing fruit and vegetables over chips and cookies, many emergency relief boxes and grocery store donations do not offer the kind of fresh and nutritionally dense foods that would be optimal for making better choices. For this reason, our presentations are designed to give our partners and their residents the opportunity to bring their questions and concerns about food donation quality and recovery practices into an open forum for discussion.

Q & As

During one of our Q&As, we received inspiring feedback from a resident of our nonprofit partner, Recovery Community Cares who implored food generators donating to please, “give from your hearts and give a donation of quality and dignity.” We would like to thank our partners who have already donated with this message in mind. Whether it be food, resources, your time, or financial contribution, every bit counts towards reducing hunger and environmental waste. To every partner of ours who has welcomed our Nutrition Talks into their programming, we want to thank you for providing more for your clients. 

Special thanks to our partners Recovery Community Cares, Delancey Street Foundation, Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Jamboree Housing CorporationFontana-Sierra Fountains & Ceres Way, and Steph House Recovery

Information

The Nutrition Talks Program is something that we are very proud of at Food Finders. Part of our mission is to improve nutrition in food insecure communities and this program is one way that we can provide more than just a meal.

For more information on how to become a donor, volunteer, or funder, please visit the following links: 

For volunteer opportunities, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin Burciaga (562) 283-1400 Ext. 112

To become a food donor, contact any member of our Food Acquisitions Team, Mark Eden (Ext. 117) and Tray Turner (Ext. 105) (562) 283-1400

To join our Share Table, please contact our Fund Development Director, Lisa Hoffmaster (562) 283-1400 (Ext. 103)

If you are a Non-profit operating in Southern California and would like to host a Nutritional Talk you must be a registered nonprofit and partner with Food Finders, Inc. For more information please contact Isabel Gallegos, at (562) 283-1400 Ext. 111

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Isabel Gallegos, Partner Agency Manager and has worked in the community to help others gain access to rights and tools to reach their highest potential. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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MEATLESS MONDAY RECIPE BURRITOFood Waste

Meatless Monday Recipe

Meatless Monday, A Thoughtful Approach to Preventing Food Waste

Every other Monday we’ll be spotlighting a #meatlessmonday recipe. The Meatless Monday movement started several years ago to encourage people to reduce their meat consumption for their personal health and the health of our planet. We thought that starting each week by practicing Meatless Monday, the focus at home may also lead people to think more thoughtfully about the food they buy and eat–throwing less away which helps our planet even more!

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl with avocado crema. The Modern Proper. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://themodernproper.com/vegetarian-burrito-bowl-with-avocado-crema

For this #meatlessmonday, we’re sharing a delicious recipe for Vegetarian Burrito Bowls. This easy, nutritious meal is packed with flavor. Ideal for meal preppers and vegetarians and anyone who has some veggies in the pantry that may begin to look like they will be thrown away!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans waste nearly 40 million tons — 80 billion pounds — of food every year. That’s estimated to be 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply and equates to 219 pounds of waste per person. Having a Meatless Monday menu can help us to treat our vegetables with more focus–since so many are thrown out because they go bad. This Vegetarian Burrito bowl can be made with any combination of vegetables. We hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower (or any other vegetable in the pantry)
  • Bell Peppers, make this burrito bowl as colorful as possible with a combo of red and green peppers
  • Onions
  • Olive oil 
  • Limes for topping and the avocado crema
  • Taco seasoning – homemade or store-bought
  • Beans – Pinto or Black 
  • Jarred Salsa – or homemade 
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cilantro-lime rice

Directions

Making a burrito bowl is mostly an effort of assemblage. Most of the ingredients can be prepped beforehand, and in doing so make the meal much easier to assemble. Here’s one way to approach this burrito bowl recipe:

  1. Make the cilantro-lime rice. Burrito bowls are always a great use for leftover rice—either from takeout or from a homemade meal—so you can also just season some leftover rice with a little cilantro and lime juice.
  1. Roast the veggies! Roast cauliflower florets, peppers, and onions—all seasoned with a little taco seasoning—for about 30 minutes. This can also be done at least 2-3 days ahead of time if you’re meal-prepping.
  1. Buckle up for one of our very best tips, ever! Season your beans by simmering them for a few minutes with some salsa. Voila! Instantly delicious beans! You could do this ahead, we supposed, but it takes only a couple of minutes, and the burrito bowl is best if the beans are freshly warmed, so this is a step we reserve for the day of.
  1. Avocado crema time! (easy to make, find the recipe below) Mix this up while the beans simmer.
  1. Assemble! Have everyone assemble their burrito bowls however they see fit, and ta da! A super-healthy dinner loaded with fiber, vitamins, and whole grains that everyone will love

DIY Avocado Crema

The burrito bowl itself is already flavorful and delicious. However, if you want to go that extra mile and spice it up a little, whip up this easy-at-home avocado crema and add on top. 

  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Sour cream (or, if you want to keep your burrito bowl vegan, just use a vegan sour cream—they’re easy to find at the store, usually close to the traditional dairy sour cream, or near the tofu.)
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #meatlessmondays, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

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

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Regrow-romaine-lettuce-at-homeFood Waste

Don’t Throw It Out! Regrow It!

Some people don’t have enough food, while others are eating too much. There’s only one way to fix this problem—WE DO SOMETHING.

43% of food waste comes from individuals.  Not restaurants or large businesses—you and me!  The good news about that number is that we can do something about it every single day!

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

Today we are going to stop a common food waste problem and give you even more food in the process.  No, we don’t have a magic wand over here at Food Finders, but we do have an incredible tip to get our Wednesday started.

Don’t Throw Away The Bottom of Your Romain Lettuce

You can grow another one!

Bottom of the lettuce stop food waste
  1. Cut off the bottom of the lettuce.
  2. Place the flat part of the lettuce bottom in a bowl
  3. Put in water
  4. Change the water every day
  5. Wait for it to grow roots
  6. Magic! Another meal is growing.
https://www.gettystewart.com/how-to-regrow-romaine-lettuce-from-the-stem/

Food Waste is Destroying the Earth

Throwing out romaine lettuce is like shooting a hole in our atmosphere (with C02E from the landfills) and emptying out precious gallons of water (that go into growing that lettuce!)

Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day – equal to a pound per person

Do Something To Make A Difference

Why throw good food away when you can do one small thing to make that food into a delicious meal—for your family or for others who need it.

Food Finders is working every day to rescue food in Southern California.  We pick it up with the help of hundreds of committed volunteers and then deliver that food to local non-profit agencies who share it with our neighbors in need.

Food Finders Volunteers picking up donated food and delivery it to a community non-profit

If you are looking to be a part of the solution and would like to volunteer your time to help pick up and deliver rescued food, click here.

Become a Share Table Member and Multiply Your Impact

If you would like to help grow our operations with a monthly donation that will help to create meals, then click here.

Share this tip with ten people you know and ask them to share it with ten people they know. If we can all do just one thing every day to stop food waste imagine what our neighborhoods could be!!

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.

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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/

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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.

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Food 4 Kids Program

Making Nutritious Meals: Food 4 Kids Program

Several studies show that nutrition can directly affect the mental capacity of school-aged children. For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can negatively impact cognition. Good Nutrition helps students show up at school prepared to learn–and learning is the foundation of how children can grow into healthy and productive adults. Because improvements in nutrition help to make students healthier, they are more likely to have fewer absences and attend class more frequently. When children are not given nutritious meals, studies show that malnutrition leads to behavior problems in the classroom.

Hunger is not just something we must look at as a social issue. It is an economic one. If we know that children can do better in school when fed nutritious food, perhaps we can see the benefit of these same children growing up to lift themselves up and out of poverty to financial independence. Food is more than just hunger, it is a vehicle to elevate entire communities.

Turning A Bag of Food Into A Meal

Contents of one Food 4 Kids Bag

Kelly Alarcon, a Cal State Long Beach Nutrition student who interns at Food Finders loves to talk about the importance of having nutritious meals. She helps the Partner Agency Coordinators to receive food from our Food donors and also helps with pack and sorts for the Food 4 Kids program. The above photo was taken from one bag that was being packed up so that it could be delivered to one of the 15 Title 1 Schools in Long Beach.

Kelly asked if she could take a picture and use her nutrition skills to craft some recipes that could help families extend the meals while also providing a nutritious option. Her studies paid off!

Here is the first bag of recipes we would like to share:

Contents and Nutrition

Tuna 5.4 oz. = 2 packs 140 calories, 17g protein, 0.5g fat, 0 carbs
Instant oatmeal = 2 packs 320 calories; 8 g protein, 4g fat, 66g carbs
Kool Aid Juice Jammer = 1 90 calories, 0 protein, 0 fat, 24 carbs
Canned corn, whole kernel = 2 120 calories; 2g protein, 2g fat, 26g carbs
Black beans = 2 cans 350 calories; 24.5 g protein, 0 fat, 63 carbs
Granola bar = 1 140 Calories; 3g protein, 4 g fat, 25 carbs
Vegetable soup = 1 can 130 calories; 4g protein, 2.5 g fat, 22g carbs
Diced tomatoes = 1 can 88 calories; 3.5 g protein, 0g fat, 17.5 g of carbs
Canned fruit = 2 cans 230 calories; 0g protein, 0g fat, 59g
Boxed mac n cheese = 1 box 875 Calories; 32.5g Fat, 25g protein, 118g carbs

Weekend Meals Recipes

Meal #1: Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients To Use:
1- Box mac n cheese
1 – Pack of tuna drained
1 – Can of corn drained

Directions:

  1. Prepare boxed mac n cheese as directed, setting aside ¼ of the noodles for another recipe, and feel free to use any milk, nut milk or water.
  2. Mix all ingredients and serve.

Meal #2: Black Bean, Tomato and Corn Salad

Serves 2-3

Ingredients To Use:
1 – Cans of black beans drained
1 – Can of diced tomatoes drained
1 – Can of corn drained

Directions:

  1. Take all rinsed ingredients and toss in a bowl.
  2. Season as desired
  3. Serve hot or cold

Meal #3: Tuna and Noodle Soup with a Side of Fruit

Serves 1-3

Ingredients to Use:
1 – Cans of vegetable soup
½ Cup of water
1 – Pack of Tuna Drained
1-Can of fruit
Remainder of noodles from boxed Mac n Cheese

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a pot on the stove mixing and heating
  2. Enjoy with side of fruit from the can

Meal # 4: Oatmeal with Fruit

Serves 2-3

Ingredients to Use:

2- Packs of Instant Oatmeal

1-can of fruit drained

Directions:

  1. Prepare instant oatmeal according to package directions
  2. Cut fruit into bite size pieces and top oatmeal with it or eat as a side.

Snack

Juice

Granola Bar

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We look forward to more recipes from Kelly. If you do make any of these, please share your photos of the preparation and completed meal! Email us at mbereket@foodfinders.org

Helping Food 4 Kids

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. Support from donors helped us to serve over 10,780 meals per week to families.

Long Beach Unified School District reached out to Food Finders in January with a request to restart the program and add 12 High School Student Wellness Centers to the original Title 1 Schools. Supporting this program would mean that together we can serve 21,560 meals per week by delivering over 770 bags of food to families in Long Beach. It is a good start to elevating so many families!

To Help Support the Food 4 Kids Program click here

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

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never-doubt-your-impactCommunity

Never Doubt Your Impact

There are many ways to make an impact on the world. Unfortunately, with all the messages being thrown at us via TV and social media, we begin to think that what we do as an individual isn’t that important.

At Food Finders, we can absolutely, without any reservations, tell you that one person can make a huge impact when working alongside others who believe in the same mission. For 33 years, this organization has been growing. From one idea, in one garage, with one woman who shared her mission with others. That power of one–with your help–fed thousands of families this month.

Arlene Mercer, founder of Food Finders

Think About the Entire Process Behind Our Mission

Eliminating Food Waste.
First, you must find places where food is being discarded–close to expiration date, or bruised apples for example. Then there must be a place to bring the food. It must be a place that can store or redistribute the food before it really goes bad. Once located, then there must be people in place who can pick up the food and deliver it. And finally, someone must be on the receiving end when that delivery arrives. It is all coordinated and ready to repeat Monday through Friday–week in and week out!

Food Donors: With Food Finders as their partner, Food donors are given an option to have someone come in and take food that would be thrown out, and now can be repurposed through donation elsewhere. By not throwing food away, our landfills are reduced, and then our C02 emissions begin to fall–which will impact us and future generations.

Community Partners: These are local non-profits that can take food donations. Food Finders works to find committed and caring organizations that work every day to eliminate hunger. Food Finders found the food and the means to deliver it. These partners are now reaching out to distribute this food allowing people in food-insecure communities to gather at home and prepare a nutritious meal for their families.

So many pieces are threaded thread together to make our mission a reality. It is not just technology, or vehicles, or reports, or boxes, but people! What makes this all work are people with a shared purpose. Each of us believes that eliminating food waste will change lives.

Our new community partner, Salas & Sons.

The Impact of All of Us

When people eat nutritious food, we all win! They feel better; they learn more and their lives improve because their bodies are nourished. In this process, each of us ensures that this goal, this shared mission, is served from beginning to end. Together we do this—one committed person handing off to another until the circle is closed, and we begin again tomorrow.

Every dollar donated creates 11 meals. One pick-up and delivery can turn into hundreds of meals
Never doubt that your efforts and contributions to Food Finders do not make an impact. They make all the difference to many people in your community every day!

Are you someone who is looking to make a greater impact in your community, then reach out to us at (562) 282-1400.

There are many ways in which you can help to impact the reduction of food waste and hunger:

#1 volunteer your time. It is your time, so why not use it to change your own community? learn more

#2 make a donation that will allow us to rescue more food and repurpose it: Donate

#3 share! Share our posts on Instagram or Facebook, or share this newsletter and page. Just sharing our message with others brings awareness and advocacy that can make a huge impact one day!

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 #eliminatehunger #eliminatefoodwaste

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4 Ways To Be Ready For SB 1383Food Waste

4 Ways To Be Ready For SB 1383

It’s almost here, the anticipated January 2022 kick off of the “all hands on deck” aspect of the organic recycling mandate, SB 1383. California will begin enforcing the donation, recycling and otherwise diversion from landfills of organic (much of which is food) waste.

As a food recovery nonprofit we’ll be focusing on the food aspect rather than the sticks and leaves part, and there’s much you can do, as a resident and as a business, to ensure your bins are divested of the usual food scraps and leftovers.

Let’s start with the most obvious, which is, use those edible parts up! The farm to table movement has taught us not just to eat locally, but hopefully

to clean your plate, and we mean that in the less literal sense, whether you’re making soup from bones or peels, squirreling away seeds to plant in a garden, or simply finding recipes that inspire using every last bit of an ingredient.

Next, and easy but not always done properly, is food storage. How often do you have every intention of cooking something but life shifts, and you find a sad head of cauliflower at the back of the fridge two weeks later or those leftover chicken wings protesting in silence, ignored and forgotten? It happens. But if you choose the right storage container, you can at least give those items a fighting chance to last another day or two longer than they would normally.

The largest amount of food waste happens at the consumer level, this we know. But, the newer options for home composting are coming fast and furious, and it’s possible that the compost bin will become as common on countertops as the toaster oven or coffeemaker. Yes, you have to find a place to put the table scraps after they sit in your kitchen composter, but the plan is for waste haulers to offer organic bins to help you dispose of it easily. For now, it’s no harder to toss strawberry tops and eggshells into a shiny thingy on your counter than on your floor. And if you do take it full circle, the outdoor compost receptacles are easily had and pretty simple to use.

Finally, and this especially goes for businesses, you can always donate what you can’t use! We’re talking safely edible items, of course. Did you buy too many bags of burger buns, have some canned goods about to expire that you can’t use, prep a pan of rice that went unserved? It can be donated to a nonprofit that feeds people rather than tossed. Food Finders serves more than 400 pantries, shelters, missions, and centers that can use the food that others can’t, and with 1 in 6 people experiencing hunger regularly, donations are highly encouraged.

Need more info? Be sure to contact us directly, 562-283-1400.

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

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Individual Spotlight

On Being Grateful

My son has been learning Latin on Babbel, a language app, and sometimes we discuss the roots of various words, since he also took French, and I took Spanish decades earlier. It’s fun to compare similarities in the languages. Since we are approaching the time of year when the word ‘Grateful’ is foremost on our minds, not to mention in stores teeming with Thanksgiving holiday décor, I became curious of its origin.

Grateful, it turns out, is rooted in the Latin word ‘gratus’ which originally meant pleasing or agreeable. What’s more, the word was at its highest usage back in 1800. From there its usage went steadily downhill. Around 1920 it started a resurgence, and in the past twenty years or so, ‘grateful’ has been on a steady upswing and is nearly back to the same high level of usage as in 1800. Humanity is #bringinggratefulback.

Despite the past couple of harrowing years that have included a pandemic, political upheaval, and rising mental health concerns, we’re frequently reminded to be grateful either via a myriad of articles, TEDTalks, and personal growth podcasts, or like when you notice gas prices rising but realize your commute was cut in half now that you work from home part of the week. Being reminded is good, because by noting what we’re grateful for we generate good vibes, a shift in our outlook, and potentially even more things to be grateful for. Kristi Nelson, we hear you.

At Food Finders we also hear words of thanks and gratefulness, and it’s rewarding to know people appreciate what we do as an organization. But what we love hearing even more is why they are grateful. The obvious answer is because they didn’t go hungry. Pressing further, we learn it’s much more. It might be because they are a student who could better focus on their studies that will ultimately help them attain a decent salary. Maybe they’re a single mother who could rest easy knowing her rent will be paid now that her food bill is less of an issue. It’s also the senior on a limited income who could live more comfortably because he didn’t have to choose between buying medication or food. There are countless benefits in the form of why they are grateful.

Our new campaign and mantra “more than just food” spotlights these benefits. We want to remind not just ourselves, but all of you who support us, we’re more to our recipients than a meal or a full pantry shelf. As a food rescue organization, we’re helping provide a sense of security, an opportunity for togetherness, and lasting well-being. Particularly during the holidays when food is a focal point of every event and celebration, we recognize that providing something as simple as a frozen turkey can make the difference between a jumble of stress and a joyful memory.

Writer Naomi Williams made a wonderful observation when she said, “It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” By providing food, we’re providing something that can make all the difference in people’s lives, one moment at a time. Maybe even longer.

You can help us continue providing more than just food by donating today.

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

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Food Finders News

Awareness + Action = Impact

September is Hunger Awareness Month, and as the month kicked off, we found ourselves still addressing high levels of food insecurity due to Covid. People are seriously struggling in many communities to put food on the table–1 in 6 people are going hungry every day just in California alone.

You may not know any of those people, but our drivers and volunteers see them every day. And our staff receives calls from individuals asking, “Do you give out food, or Where can I go that does?”

Here are two stories from our nonprofit partners who saw firsthand the impact of COVID:

“We never stopped through Covid, and because of your wonderful organization, we were able to feed all displaced shelter guests. We gloved up, masked up and gowned up to deliver 137,000 meals in 11 months to the sick, the elderly, and families living out of motels. That was 6 days a week, 3 meals a day and a snack and water–literally we stepped in and helped these souls survive. It was Food Finders !! It was you and our hands and feet!” – Lighthouse Outreach in Costa Mesa.

“We were able to serve hundreds of youths and their families throughout summer and beyond. The Food Finders donations ensured we could provide fresh produce boxes to families, some we’ve never seen before, along with other nonperishable items as well. Thank you so much!” – YMCA in Greater Long Beach

We are hopeful amid health and economic uncertainties that, before end of year, our communities and residents will see a return to pre-pandemic levels of hunger or better, which is not to say hunger will go away. Food Finders is still a much needed, crucial resource to hundreds of nonprofits daily.

The GREAT news is that you can do something impactful. Even if you help just one person, knowing they made it through another day without going hungry is a good place to start. We encourage everyone to read and share about our latest list of 4 Ways To Donate Without Spending Extra, and to also consider getting friends or coworkers involved in raising funds, particularly on Thursday for Long Beach Gives or in November for Giving Tuesday. Everything helps!

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

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Food Finders News

The Learning Starts Now: Preventing Waste in Back-to-School Lunches

Summer has ended and schools have opened their doors to eager students (and parents!). It’s time to trade in the zoom classroom and at-home lunches, for a full blown in-person school experience that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s probably been a while since you thought about packing a lunch bag, so let us help you get started!  There are a multitude of ways that you can make your child’s lunch fun, yummy yet nutritious, and environmentally friendly.

The average American family throws out approximately 300 pounds of food a year, which equates to about $2,200. The easiest, yet most overlooked, method to help reduce this waste is meal planning. Planning out what food you need for the week before making your grocery store run can help you avoid any impulse purchases or overestimating quantity (which saves money!). If meal planning sounds time consuming and difficult to manage, there are apps available, such as MealBoard, that help you stay organized and on top of your schedule.

Bento lunch boxes are another method found to be useful for preventing waste. Their design provides separate sections that can be specified for a certain type of food. Having different sections makes the food not only look more appealing, but last longer and taste better. No kid wants to eat a sandwich that is squished against their fruit. Therefore, keeping them separate and fresh will likely encourage them to eat both! So many companies have taken on the bento- style of lunch boxes and added their own spin on them. One of the more popular brands is Bentgo, a lightweight, portable, stylish choice also safe for the environment. A key selling point—using ONE Bentgo consistently can keep 540 plastic sandwich bags out of our landfills each year!

In addition to our individual efforts, it is important to recognize the amazing work schools are doing to prevent waste and reduce hunger. Several schools in LA county have incorporated a Share Table Program where students can offer up their unopened food or drinks that they choose not to consume. This allows other students to add additional items to their lunch or snack, eliminating extra food waste. The act of sharing alone demonstrates how unwanted food does not have to be wasted. What may be undesirable for one child can be a treat for another.

Following these simple yet effective tips can make drastic improvement in not only your community, but your personal life as well! Additionally, if you know of a local school that would like to donate their overages, we will gladly pick up and redistribute those milks, apple slices and other unserved items and deliver to grateful after school centers and others who can ensure nothing goes to waste. Food Finders is here to help!

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

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Community

Flux Sucks – Goodwill Is A Good Antidote

The heat is on, the season is in full swing, and families, employers, and businesses are still in various stages of flux. If you’d bet the pandemic would last past a year, you’d be cashing in right now.

Some people are making the most of the situation and taking advantage of productive, remote working situations, building more downtime into their schedules to spend with family and friends, visits to the beach and even time to cook more meals.

But a few blocks from your house or even just a few doors away, there are people struggling to stay positive. Summer is especially stressful. For parents, it brings the question of who will provide childcare if it’s even available, or how do I ensure my children are engaged if they’re not in a camp, summer school or community program? At the most basic level—”How do I keep my family from going hungry?” is being asked by one in five families, particularly while there’s no access to school meal programs.

The Health Care Agency of Orange County, published a study late last year that showed an 83% increase in the number of children facing food insecurity compared to 2018. USC Dornsife’s Public Exchange released a report around the same time last year about hunger in L.A., reinforcing how children experiencing hunger “are at a higher risk for cognitive problems, anxiety and depression.” Recently congress submitted an update to legislation called the Stop Child Hunger Act, with the intention of making summer food support permanent rather than a year-by-year consideration.

There IS something you can do, and not only will it improve your own mental health but will make an immediate impact and provide some stability to others. Your donation to Food Finders’ Summer To End Hunger drive ensures struggling kids and their families can eat, alleviating the stress of affording food so they can focus on other expenses and needs. Whether you’re collecting canned goods or cash, you’re supporting hundreds of nonprofits that in turn are serving thousands of families.

There’s an entire month of our drive remaining to continue addressing this immediate need – don’t go it alone. Enlist your tribe, your team, your ten or so friends or family members and make an even bigger impact!

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

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Food Finders News

You’ve Got $1600 Right In Your Fridge!

About twenty or so years ago, when Food Network was first gaining traction, they featured a show called Door Knock Dinners, where the chef/host would “surprise” a family at random and demonstrate how to combine, for example, a head of cauliflower, two chicken breasts, basil that’s about to go bad and a cup of leftover beans in their fridge or pantry into a delicious meal. It was great inspiration for getting creative with ingredients on hand. It also, if indirectly, encouraged reducing food waste, which according to statistics is most prevalent at the consumer level.

Food Waste, even with smart fridges and grocery shopping apps at our disposal (pun intended), still remains an issue to the point that the USDA estimates each household throws out an average of $1600 worth of food per year. That’s at least another couple month’s-worth of groceries! Most people would like to think they are intentional shoppers, but even fastidious households or family cooks wind up with wilted lettuce or forgotten mashed potatoes at the back of their fridge at some point. In some cases, a good food storage set-up can make a world, and wallet-full, of difference, but there’s yet another challenge we face when it comes to reducing food waste.

Food labels and dates continue to be a bit of a consumer conundrum. We mostly use smell and taste tests at home, and when you see mold on your yogurt, probably best to toss it. But what do the best by, sell by, use by dates all mean? There’s no actual USDA federal regulation on any of it, but some states have their own standards in place. California passed a law that helps align with major food trade organizations in reducing confusion and offering consistent label definitions. One helpful resource is EatByDate, which provides guidelines of how long common perishable foods should last, and an alternate comprehensive list includes shelf-stable items.

So, while we’ve basically mastered how long our eggs, milk, and lunch are good for, there are always new products hitting the market that present a bit of a learning curve on shelf life, like meat-replacement patties, non-dairy milks, pressed juices, and others. A general rule of thumb for many of these is 3-5 days after opening, but that can vary.

The overall key in reducing food waste is careful planning, and in the best of circumstances, having a compost system in place to capture scraps so they get a second life.

As a food vendor, manufacturer, distributor, or producer, it’s important to know that donating food—whether edible but past it’s sell by or best by date, slightly damaged but still good, or purely an overproduction–is always an option. By January 2022, California businesses will need to address their food overages in order to comply with SB1383, which we’ll cover in another blog, so donating should be on everyone’s radar.

Meanwhile, Food Finders encourages you to share about our Food Rescue Program with friends, associates and business partners, so we can ensure that beyond the consumer level, everyone is doing their part to reduce food waste.

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

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Hunger

LGBTQ And Hunger: What You Should Know

In honor of Pride Month, Food Finders is shining a spotlight on some of the lesser-known facts about hunger and how it affects the LGBTQ community.

While hunger is often tied to homelessness, and a high population of people served by our partner agencies and pantries are homeless or unemployed, an oft-overlooked community that is reliant upon food banks, pantries and social services continues to be LGBTQ adults and teens. As indicated recently by Oregon Food Bank, more than a quarter of this community struggles with food insecurity. The reasons for this are tied directly to similar discriminatory acts faced by people of color.

Discrimination at places of work, within housing and education and even within the healthcare system has affected the levels of poverty that are perpetuated and growing within the transgender community in particular. Additionally, LGBTQ people of color have twice the rate of hunger as general BIPOC. A report issued in 2016 by the Williams Institute showed that The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) served nearly 1.37 million LGBTQ Americans several years ago, and we know that number has increased since. Worse, proposed cuts to the SNAP program further threaten food access for LGBTQ adults, although the country’s current administration is hoping to see increases in the federal funding for SNAP, but the proposals have not been approved.

Support systems are crucial, in the community and within families. In some families there is rampant unacceptance of LGBTQ members, particularly teens, and they are left to fend for themselves. While organizations like National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Network , the National LGBTQ Task Force and many others advocate for their communities regularly, there is still much progress to be made.

You can help! Food Finders urges everyone to take a few minutes to get involved and lend a voice on behalf of our LGBTQ friends and family. Start here to share your stories and messages of support.

As William Faulkner said, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty, truth, and compassion against injustice…If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.”

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

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Food Waste

Go Eco-Friendly: 5 Ideas For An Environmentally-Kind Holiday

As Memorial weekend approaches, many of us will perhaps be planning or attending our first major get-together of the year. Whether it’s a barbecue, beach bash, park picnic, or backyard fiesta, why not make it decidedly green by starting with one or all five tips. Waste not…party on!

Choose To Reuse your plates, cups, napkins, cutlery–it’s easy to find inexpensive plastic, glass and metal serving-ware for casual events that you can easily wash off and put away for the next celebration. A simple pie plate subs in for paper or Styrofoam, and the popular red Solo cups now come reusable and are totally affordable. So much better than filling up a trash bag or two and sending it to a landfill to languish for years.

Beverage Stations Are Best for reducing piles of plastic bottles, cans, or cups. A few large vessels filled with your favorites, like refreshing lemonade, soda or an adult beverage, make your gathering festive and earth-friendly. And they save you money, so why not?

Cook What You Need is a Food Finders favorite tip, so whatever doesn’t get opened or grilled—burgers, veggies, hot dogs—can be stored for later. Nobody wants food that’s sat out for a few hours, and sadly, those leftovers can’t be donated either. Use a portion guide to determine how much to prepare, and you won’t have to waste! And, if you do end up with extra frozen patties or unserved items, feel free to drop them off.

Consciously Decorate by getting creative with upcycled or multi-use articles. Find cool ways to repurpose items that you might already have on hand. Strings of lights are easy, along with chalkboards, wood pallets and cloth, like this DIY backyard movie screen—super simple!

BYOC, aka, bring your own containers! Just in case there are a few spare pounds of salad, or goodness forbid, the cookies don’t all get devoured, you can encourage guests to come prepared with their own carryout container. If you’re the lucky leftover recipient and need inspiration, there are plenty of great ways to use barbecue extras.

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

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Food Finders News

Making The Most Impact With Your Charitable Giving

Ask just about any nonprofit what they need funding for most, and it would very likely be General Operating support. It’s sort of the ongoing push and pull with any development team within a nonprofit to find a balance where you can both please your constituents who donate and sustain your business, because a nonprofit is a business that still has the usual expenses as a for-profit—rents, salaries, utilities, IT costs—and those are also the least appealing expenses to many funders.

What is most appealing of course are the programs, usually whatever is tied to a nonprofit’s mission. In the case of Food Finders, it’s our food rescue program, which is our core effort, along with our sub-programs such as feeding kids, hosting food hubs and providing nutrition education. These direct extensions of our goal to eliminate hunger and food waste provide the positive outcomes that we are more than happy to share. It’s the reward that makes us all feel good about working for, volunteering at, and supporting the organization.

But how can a nonprofit sustain its programs if it can’t afford the rent or the program manager’s salary? Like we sometimes say, we can’t pay our electric bill with a case of donated bananas, so it takes a diverse stream of revenue to keep our programs going and growing.

And then there’s the other side of the matter, which is the ever-changing financial climate. Some years, interest levels and income plummet from investments, and nonprofits that prosper from robust contributions based on investment income are left scrambling to rethink their fundraising plans. Foundations that might have generously donated in years past may have to limit their grantmaking or individuals with previously thriving portfolios might rethink their charitable giving.

In 2020, the economic recession that nobody saw coming due to a pandemic left analysts predicting that a third of nonprofits would close. The actual outcome is still being determined, but while many nonprofits that focused on human services saw an increase of emergency support, others suffered setbacks as their programs were made less of a priority, particularly those in the arts or education. Of those that stayed open, a huge percentage were heavily burdened with increased demand.

So, what makes supporting nonprofits a Win-Win, for the donor and organization? Consider these options:

–Join a monthly giving program to spread your dollars across the year and allow them to be spent as needed, like The Share Table. You’ll still receive a charitable deduction come tax time.

–Set up a Donor Advised Fund, a tax benefit that can include cash, stock and other assets as designated.

–Designate funding as Unrestricted, so a nonprofit can spend the dollars prudently where they are most needed and fill in any gaps that program-directed funds don’t cover.

Corporate sponsorships are always welcome, along with employee giving campaigns, which benefit a company’s image and morale while showing the community some local support via the charity of choice.

Bottom line, it’s important is to know your dollars are wisely earned and spent, and transparency is key, which is why one of Food Finders’ core values is Integrity. For a good source on where to cast your philanthropic net, consider Charity Navigator, which provides current ratings and complete financial profiles of hundreds of nonprofits.

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

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