Stopping food waste through Retail Pick-Up
Have you ever wondered what happens to food that’s no longer viable for retail sales but is still safe to eat? Instead of letting it go to waste, Ozarks Food Harvest rescues the food and gives it to individuals and families experiencing hunger in southwest Missouri.
Through the Retail Pick-Up Program, The Food Bank coordinates with more than 120 grocers each week to pick up products that are safe for consumption and deliver them to hunger-relief partners.
“Products that no longer meet our strict standards, but are still great quality, are diverted from our store to Ozarks Food Harvest to help feed those in need,” Brad Auge, the district store director at Hy-Vee Springfield, said. “In years past, these products would typically end up in a landfill. However, this great program allows these products a second life and an opportunity to provide food for those who struggle with food insecurity.”
The food donations include fresh produce, frozen meat, dairy and other perishable goods, as well as nonperishable food products. Our retail partners also donate paper goods and hygiene items that might have packaging defects. Before the donations can be sent to our hunger-relief partners, they are carefully inspected and sorted by our volunteers at the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief.
This past fiscal year, grocery stores donated more than 6 million pounds of food to The Food Bank. We are so grateful for each of our retail partners that help us bring nutritious food to families across our 28-county service area.
“Aldi is proud to be partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest to help our local communities,” Felicia Stinnett, the store manager at the Aldi location in Lebanon, shared. “Not only does it prevent unnecessary waste, but we are also able to help local citizens who are in need of extra assistance during these unpredictable times.”
As we continue to support our neighbors facing food insecurity, we want to thank our retail partners who help us keep food out of the landfill and help us Transform Hunger into Hope. For a full list of the grocers participating in the Retail Pick-Up Program, click here.