Wouldn’t it be great if food that’s going to waste could be matched and delivered quickly to organizations that need it?
That’s the idea behind a Calgary food rescue foundation that uses an app and eager volunteers to coordinate the tricky logistics between the food industry and organizations like food banks and charities.
“Rather than each individual charity or agency rescuing food from a business, we come in and kind of do it for the system as a whole,” said Cory Rianson, the executive director of the Leftovers Foundation.
The foundation’s food rescue program operates by communicating with businesses who have rescuable food and agencies who are willing to receive the food. Once this connection has been made, the food rescue program posts the driving opportunity on their app and their volunteers can choose which opportunity to take.
“They have food they’re throwing out at the end of the day that’s still perfectly edible, perfectly fine, but maybe for their customers’ standards they don’t want to sell it, or it’s going bad in a couple of days,” said Rianson.
The main goal of the food rescue program is to ensure a way for people who are food insecure or in poverty to have access to food, as well as to make sure that less food is thrown out while it’s still safe to eat.
“We’re in a period of extremely high need right now, driven by inflation. People are really struggling with affording basic necessities,” said Rianson.
According to the Food Banks of Alberta one in every five Albertans are currently going through food insecurity.
“From 2019 to 2022, we have seen an increase in food bank use by over 73 per cent. This is an Alberta problem,” said the CEO of Food Banks Alberta, Arinanna Scott in a release.“It’s not isolated to one geographical area. These numbers are a reflection of realities in communities across the province.”
Food rescue and food bank programs are a solution to food insecurity but not a permanent one. They are designed to help cushion the impact of poverty.
“Food rescue and its impact on food insecurity is an emergency response. It’s a band-aid response, similar to what food banks are,” said Rianson.