recipes in a bag-blogFood Waste

Food 4 Kids Maruchan Noodle Bag

How do you take 16 ingredients in a bag and turn it into nutritious meals over a two-day weekend? You ask our intern Kelly!

Kelly is a nutrition student at California State University, Long Beach CSULB. Every week we have been challenging her to head out to the Food Finder’s Warehouse, empty one Food 4 Kids bag, take photos, and then come back with recipes to feed a family over the weekend nutritiously.

Nutrition Is In Our Mission

Food Finders has a mission to eliminate hunger and food waste, but did you know that we also have a part 2? “….while improving nutrition in food insecure communities.” It is critically important that people eat nutritious meals. Our bodies need nutrition to get up out of bed, get on the bus to school, and then our brain has to be ready to learn—you need nutritious food to do that!

Kelly has a talent for taking all the ingredients sorted and packed into our Food 4 Bags, and craft some delicious and easy recipes for a family to prepare over the weekend. Keep in mind that she is assuming there are no other ingredients in the house, so anything you add to the mix will boost the nutrition even more! The beautiful part of these recipes below is that you can make nutritious food from simple ingredients when you think outside of the box.

Oatmeal with Fruit Topping

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • Oatmeal packet
  • Fruit mix or fruit cup

Instructions:

  1. Cook oatmeal packet as directed and top with 1/3 of drained mix fruit or 1 fruit cup
  2. Enjoy!

Tuna and Black Bean Casserole

Tuna and Black Bean Casserole

Servings 4

Tuna is good for you and is a rich source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Combined with the black beans that are rich in fiber, potassium, folate and B6 as well as its phytonutrient content and no cholesterol supports heart health.

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages of chicken flavored Maruchan noodles prepared per package instructions leaving one seasoning packet out and drain majority of the fluid.
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup

Instructions:

  1. Place cooked noodles, tuna, black beans, tomato soup and can of mixed vegetables in a pot.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through.
  3. Eason to taste
  4. Garnish with anything available such as cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, onion and sliced radishes.

Tuna and Tomato Noodle Casserole with Green Beans

Servings 4

Tuna is good for you and is a rich source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages of chicken flavored Maruchan noodles prepared per package instructions draining the majority of the liquid.
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 can of green beans, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup 

Instructions:

  1. Place cooked noodles, tuna, green beans and tomato soup in a pot.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through.
  3. Season to taste
  4. Garnish with anything available such as cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, onion and sliced radishes.

Chips and Dip

Servings approximately 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 1 Chicken seasoning packet
  • 1 bag of potato chips

Instructions:

  1. Place refried beans in a bowl.
  2. Mix in the chicken seasoning packet thoroughly.
  3. Feel free to add cheese if available.
  4. Dip chips and enjoy!

The Food 4 Kids Program is an amazing collaboration of the City of Long Beach and Food Finders. To learn more here

If you would like to volunteer to help us sort and pack Food 4 Kids bags at our warehouse, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin Burciaga, kburgiaga@foodfinders.org

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Food Waste

Make This Yummy Snack in 5 Easy Steps

Why Waste Food Wednesday

DID YOU KNOW: Fruit is one of the most wasted produce items because it is the fastest to ripen? 🤔

Preventing food from going to waste is one of the easiest and most powerful actions you can take to save money and help the planet Earth to flourish for generations to come!

In fact, the benefits of preventing food waste from ending up in our landfills are quite compelling:

  • Helps us save our money
  • Reduces our carbon footprints
  • Preserves energy and resources
  • Lowers the price of produce and other products made with fruits and vegetables
  • Creates opportunities for food security in low-income communities

So what can you do with some aging apples and a mushy strawberry or two?

Fruit Jam

For our #WhyWasteFoodWednesday post we want to share a quick recipe on how to repurpose parts of your fruit that are often easily discarded. With our recipe for a fresh fruit jam you can put those apple cores and strawberry tops to good use! 🍓 🍎

INGREDIENTS LIST

💚 6 Apples (Cores & Peels only)

💚 3  ½ oz Strawberry Tops 

💚 1 cup of water 

💚 ½ Lemon Juice 

💚 1 cup Superfine Sugar (or Powdered Sugar can work as well)

Now it’s time for preparation! Make sure to follow the steps below. 

5 STEPS FOR PREPARATION:

Step 1: Place ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

Step 2: Simmer for 20-25 minutes on low heat and mix occasionally until the fruit is completely dissolved.

Step 3: Remove from heat when liquid thickens and scoop out any excess apple cores or strawberry tops.

Step 4: Pour jam into a jar and leave to close (without lid). 

Step 5: Keep refrigerated and enjoy with your favorite bread for up to 2 weeks.

Now Enjoy!

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #WhyWasteFoodWednesday, please email mbereket@carly-bragg

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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fruit birthday sign

Food Finders’ 33rd Birthday Fundraiser

Birthdays bring people together…which brings our community together!

At Food Finders, our mission is to eliminate hunger and food waste while improving nutrition in food insecure communities. April is Food Finders birthday month, and we invite you to come together with us and celebrate our 33rd Birthday!

In 2021, Food Finders proudly rescued 16 Million pounds of food.

Together, we provided over 13,200,000 meals to families in Southern California. Your  support will help to increase the operational success of our Food Rescue Program by making our 33rd year more impactful, and helping us to provide even more food to communities in need.

Below are 2 ways you can help us achieve our 2022 Goal of rescuing 18 million pounds of food:

Make a Donation & Help Us Grow Our Food Rescue Program

Your donation can help us to reach more communities across Southern California, and help Food Finders keep our trucks on the road delivering nutritious food. Donate

Create a Facebook or Instagram Birthday Fundraiser:

Creating a Birthday Fundraiser is a wonderful way to encourage friends to change the lives of families struggling with food insecurity by helping to rescue food and reduce hunger with us!

It’s easy to get started & we have all the tools you need including a step-by-step guide with social posts to ensure your success! Learn More

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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

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why-waste-food-wedesday-avocadoFood Waste

#Why Waste Food Wednesday: Avocado Pesto

The Avocado, delicious and finicky! It is hard to know when they are ripe, and then–they are over-ripe. Or are they? Too many avocados are tossed in the trash when they could be repurposed into something else delicious and highly nutritious. While overripe avocados are not great for slicing, they’re actually easier to mash or purée than ripe avocados, which comes in handy if you’re trying to make dips and spreads.

Before I get to the recipe: How do you know when it is still good to eat an avocado that has gone from green to brown? The real trick is your nose. If an avocado smells bad, then do not eat it. Brown does not mean it is not nutritious. An isolated brown spot may be due to bruising, rather than widespread spoilage, and can be cut away. Mold is another sign that you cannot eat an over-ripe avocado. The bottom line is to smell before using.

Avocado Pesto

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 large bunch fresh basil
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ cup walnuts or hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground pepper to taste

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 Strip basil leaves from the stems and add to a food processor along with avocados, walnuts (or hemp seeds), lemon juice, garlic and salt; pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and process to form a thick paste. Season with pepper.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent browning and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2-Tbsp.Per Serving: 126 calories; protein 1.1g; carbohydrates 3g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 0.3g; fat 12.8g; saturated fat 1.7g; vitamin a iu 236.2IU; vitamin c 4.1mg; folate 26.4mcg; calcium 13.9mg; iron 0.4mg; magnesium 14.9mg; potassium 151.2mg; sodium 37.1mg.Exchanges: 

2 1/2 fat

Recipe Source: https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/251078/avocado-pesto/

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 #Foodwaste #beafoodfinder #HungerHero #zerofoodwaste #avocado

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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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banana-why-waste-food-wednesdayFood Waste

Why Waste Food Wednesday: Ripe Bananas

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

#1 Problem with fruit? The overripe banana. Don’t worry, it can be repurposed by
freezing them.🍌

Here is the process from the National Center For Home Food Preservation

Freezing Banana Preparation


✅Select firm ripe bananas.
✅Peel them
✅mash thoroughly.
✅Add 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid per cup
of mashed banana.
✅Package in moisture-vapor resistant container.
✅Seal and freeze.
🍌🍌🍌🍌🍌

How To Use Frozen Bananas


✅Smoothies, pancakes, cookie dough, bread + Cover in chocolate for a delish snack.

Share any other repurposed recipes and ideas by commenting below.

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 #whywastefoodwednesday #NationalCenterForHomeFoodPreservation

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Food Waste

Have An Eco-Friendly Super Bowl Party

1.4 Billion Chicken Wings on Sunday

Food is everything for those working to reduce waste and eliminate hunger. When we walk into a grocery store and see a bruised piece of fruit, we become sad thinking that this nourishing treat could end up in a landfill instead of a Food Bank serving food-insecure communities.

But on event days like Super Bowl Sunday? Well, last year over 40 million pounds of food were wasted —just from the stadium. The good news is that much of this stadium waste was rescued and repurposed because of a plan. This year, up to 120 Million people will be watching or attending the big game. That means there will be 1.4 Billion chicken wings sitting alongside an equal amount of chips, salsa, pigs in a blanket, and so much more!

Celebrate But Make It Zero Waste

We want you to have fun, but we also want you to have a plan! Throw your party and be mindful of the waste. Here are Eight Zero Waste Party Tips to enjoy the game and feel good that you are making an impact:

1. Have a Plan for Scraps of Food

If you live in California, you need a plan for food waste. SB-1383 requires you to compost! Have a bucket next to all the delicious foods clearly marked “COMPOST” so that your guests know what to do. Food accounts for a lot of what goes into landfills, so having a place to compost reduces that impact, and it helps to reduce our carbon footprint too! Learn more about SB-1383.

2. Don’t Use Plastic Plates, Cups or Utensils

Sure, we know it’s easier to toss out plates rather than wash them! Minimize cleanup by preparing dish stations with buckets full of soapy water for guests to use to soak dirty dishes. Put a little sign above the wash station: “40 Million Tons of Waste is Generated During the Super Bowl. Prevent waste-wash and rinse a plate.” [Not enough plates? Try Goodwill. You can recycle used containers for very little money.]

3. Use Reusable Bags

When shopping for the party, remember to bring your favorite reusable grocery and produce bags to the store with you to minimize plastic and paper bag usage! And if you forgot, get those plastic bags out and recycle them!

4. Pack It All Up in Reusable Containers

reusable glass containers

You know there are going to be leftovers, so plan ahead. Minimize the use of plastic baggies, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and other disposable food storage items by packing leftovers in reusable containers. If you usually give leftovers away to guests, ask them to bring their own reusable containers to take food home in.

5. Forget All The Decorations

At the very least, could you keep it simple? You are there to watch the game, so save your money and focus on your team winning! And if you can’t live without a football-shaped table centerpiece, make it reusable. Your great-grandkids will be very grateful you did!

6. Label and Plan Your Trash Cans

Label Your Bins

There are two critical tricks to this part: First, clearly label waste receptacles, and second, put them in places that are easily accessible to guests. If they can’t see them, they won’t use them.

7. Let Everyone Know: Make Announcements

Just before the game starts, and then just before the first half-time commercial, announce the bins, the food scraps, and the reason why you are changing things up this year. Change happens when enough people speak up. Be the voice of change!

8. Repurpose Extra Food After The Game

Your Super Bowl planning probably included extra buns, chips, and produce. If you think it will go to waste, turn sour, or go uneaten–DONATE IT. Better to feed a group of seniors than to add to the landfill heap. Food Finders has a mission to rescue food, reduce hunger, and provide nutritious meals to food-insecure communities. That could be your mission too! Be a Food Rescue Hero

https://www.foodfinders.org/

Resources for Food Donations

For Ram’s Fans: Food Finders

USDA Donations

California Association of Food Banks

Cal Recycle

For Bengals Fans: Last Mile Food Rescue

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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Sustainable-Super-Bowl-2022Food Waste

Sustainable Super Bowl. Let’s All Do Our Part

The World is Watching This Week

The LA Rams did the city proud. The team won the championship and will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, February 13th for the “Big Game.” It is an exciting time for the city, for this fairly new LA team, and for the new SOFI Stadium. With over 186 million fans gearing up for the big game we have an opportunity to shine in a more impactful way than touchdowns.

Product Waste

After Super Bowl LII (2018) between the Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots, sponsors worked together to compost, recycle or repurpose 40 tons of waste. (NBC NEWS) In the years since, stadiums around the country are working on sustainable initiatives to address waste. This is a good start to a very serious problem. 40 Tons of anything is HUGE!. 40 tons of “waste” demands a moment of reflection.

Think about that number for a moment….that is napkins discarded, cups lying under seats, overflowing trash, and all sorts of products that fans just toss away without thinking. It is also all those unused hamburger buns that cannot be used or baked goods that will go bad in a few days. Repurposing this “waste” turns something we don’t usually think about into something that might just make an impact.

Landfill (Wikipedia)

Food Waste

Food waste is a double-edged sword. Forget the stadium for a moment and think about the 186 million people watching the game at home. Do you think they are going to have just a little extra stuff after the game is over? Chicken wings, Jalapeno Poppers, Pizza? Food is a tradition for Super Bowl! Having lot’s of it just happens. Restaurants are prepping, the stadium vendors are prepping, even your Mom is prepping. Between the three of these game day chefs, there might just be an extra bag of buns and hotdogs that nobody wants to eat the day after.

In 2020 it was estimated that 10,000 hot dogs, 6,000 short ribs, and 2,700 lobster tails were served at the game. It was also estimated that 40,000 pounds of food was wasted–not served, unused but ready or prepared. Where does all that food come from? And what happens to it after the game?

For large events like the Super Bowl, food is the perk of VIP’s. Trays of shrimp and chips, salsa and finger foods that entice people to buy tickets, or just corporate offices inviting in top clients to enjoy the game. We are not judging the tradition! Who doesn’t love a buffet?! What we are asking of everyone this week is to be mindful of your food waste. No matter who you are rooting for (the Rams, of course) or where you are enjoying the game (stadium, VIP suite, Tailgate or your family room couch) plan ahead. Below is a list of ideas to get you thinking about making an impact with tips on reducing garbage and food waste.

First: Someone in 2021 That Got it Right

Here is a company that totally got it right at last years Super Bowl, Hellmann’s Mayo. I would like to start the week off with this incredible video as my inspiration for all the tips and tricks we will offer everyone hosting a “Big Game” party next Sunday.

Hellmann’s Tackles Food Waste, 2021 YouTube Video

Watch the Video

Plan Ahead To Reduce Waste

For those of you rooting for the Bengals: Our community partner and fellow food-rescuer, Last Mile Rescue is doing all that it can to rescue food and give to those most in need. Learn more about them and do your 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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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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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

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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 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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