Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19

by Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Inc.
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Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Support Hunger Relief during Covid-19
Food Being Rescued
Food Being Rescued

Arthur is one of the 41 homeless adults aged 50 and up who are provided with private and semi-private rooms at the Moravian Open Door which is one of our partner organizations and a not-for-profit (501c-3) organization committed to providing transitional housing and supportive services to the homeless, distressed and underserved population of New York City. Arthur has dietary restrictions due to his health, and unfortunately does not make enough income to eat two meals a day. After we started to work with Moravian Open Door, we received this email: 

"I forgot to mention in my earlier email response that the volunteer who dropped off the food today had the opportunity to meet Arthur - the senior gentleman that I spoke to you about.  Arthur thanked him for the food donation from last Friday.  We received spaghetti and meatballs among other food items and Arthur ate quite well that day.  He also was able to keep from spending what little he had that day instead of purchasing dinner. 

My clients are calling your organization a real blessing!”

Stories like these are what keep us going. We would not be able to make the lives of people like Arthur better without your help. We have also attached another letter sent to us by another partner shelter, Helene and BJ's Place homeless shelter. The number of pounds, meals, and partners we work with are only increasing. There are millions of pounds of food being wasted while people go hungry, and we cannot thank you enough for making these stories possible. 

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One Million Pounds Rescued
One Million Pounds Rescued

It sounds amazing even as we celebrate this tremendous milestone, but thanks to your support, we have rescued 1 million pounds of food!

This is means that 1 million pounds of wholesome, fresh food were diverted from going to the garbage, and instead was brought to the hungry. Over 800,000 meals were provided for the food insecure throughout 12 cities. This also means 188 tons of CO2 emissions that would have been emitted by food waste in landfills were prevented and hundreds of thousands of livestock were not slaughtered for no reason. From these large scale numbers, however, there have been so many heartwarming stories we have heard from our volunteers and homeless shelters we work with, and these stories are really what keep us going and growing. From Thanksgiving Day turkey running out and our volunteers arriving with more rescued turkey to recent mothers getting the milk they need for their babies, each and every one of these stories show us the potential that excess food has. They also represent food waste and hunger occuring simultaneously unnecessarily and the work we have ahead of us. 

Milestones like these would have been impossible without the support of amazing individuals like you. We have quintupled and then tripled over the past two years, and we never would have thought that we would have hit the one million mark so soon, but we are not slowing down yet. We are looking forward to hitting our next million even faster! Thank you so much again for choosing to come with us on this incredible journey! 

Best, 

Robert

Food Rescue Handling
Food Rescue Handling
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An example of leftover food after an event
An example of leftover food after an event

While we were a part of the Blue Ridge Labs Incubator Program @ Robin Hood Foundation, we participated in a session called "FailFest." This was a session where we celebrated failures instead of hiding them away in shame, because we are all able to learn from them and advance further than we could have without these failures. I wanted to share our story of miserable failure and celebrate this failure in helping us get to where we are today! 

In the early days of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, we experimented a lot because we needed to know what would work, and what should be tried again later. We had many restaurants on board working with us, but no other types of food businesses, and we were eager to work with catered events and catering companies. So we decided to try and enter this space by creating a catering clean up service. This service would allow companies to engage us to clean up any leftover food from an event, and we would be able to determine at that point what is able to be donated and what is not. 

It sounded like a great idea to us, and we thought it was so great that we went straight ahead and launched it. We created marketing materials, went to prospective clients, and started pitching. After about two weeks of pitching, we realized that unfortunately, no one was interested. We were scratching our heads about why? When we looked at our approach, we realized we missed very basic but very important steps that we had used in the past but skipped over in launching this new idea. 

We did not conduct some of the most basic principles of entrepreneurship such as going out there and talking to people. We did not ask companies and event holders what they did with excess food, and whether they would use this service. We did not conduct any research or surveys as to what price they would pay for the service. Though execution and moving quickly are paramount in our work, key processes are crucial and cannot be skipped. We learned that experimentation is important, but that experiments must have controls and well measured variables with results. 

We continue to apply these learnings everyday when we experiment with different models of food rescue and types of transportation. Eventually, we were able to revisit this segment of office catered events after ensuring that we run through these basic steps, and we are now able to work with amazing companies such as Venmo, Etsy, and Tumblr to get their excess lunch catering donated! Without our initial failure, we would not have had the methodological procedures we have today. 

Our idea was aimed at this type of food
Our idea was aimed at this type of food
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Alexa Cavallo
Alexa Cavallo

 “Back in late February, I attended the Katz’s Delicatessen event for the first time.  After carrying food that would have been thrown out from this restaurant that was closing to the Bowery Mission, a fellow volunteer named Ben offered us a ride home in his car.  This was a lovely surprise, for the weather was brutally cold and it was getting late.  I insisted that my walk home would take 20 minutes and that I did not want to inconvenience him. 

Ben proceeded to say something I will never forget: “We have to help each other out. That is what we are here for.” In that moment, an immense feeling of gratitude poured over me; I was finally surrounded by people who genuinely care about the wellbeing of others.  This is hard to find in the world, especially in New York, and especially in people you meet for the first time. Very rarely do you come across people who will go the extra mile (literally) to help others out. Ben's words, "That is what we are here for” really resonated with me. I realized these are the first words we learn as children.  We learn to share our toys and to be kind to our neighbors.  I felt sort of guilty for feeling so overwhelmed by this saying.  Why was I just realizing the importance of this phrase?  Perhaps it is because life is hectic and we can easily lose sight of what really matters: being there for one another.  We often become preoccupied with competing with others for jobs, promotions and grades that we forget what it means to actually be there for someone. 

Luckily, Ben and all the other RLC volunteers, have demonstrated the power of unity.  The action of working together, not against one another, is the key to a healthy, prosperous world that involves no waste.  That potential waste becomes a hungry person’s food because we put sharing first. Is this not what RLC is all about? We rescue leftover food as one team, deliver that food as a team and depart as friends because “that is what we are here for. I knew I would help give to those in need when I started volunteering at RLC, but never did I think I would be given something in return.  I want to thank RLC for all of the lessons, the laughs, the workouts, and most importantly, the friends I have gained while volunteering.  I am forever inspired by the amazing work being done every single day by this beautiful community.”

- Alexa Cavallo, Lead Rescuer

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Hearing stories like this make us realize that we are so incredibly lucky to have such great volunteers. On our mission to reduce food waste and alleviate hunger, we never expected to gather more than 6,000 like-minded people who were willing to go out into the brutal cold and sweltering heat to help each other out. This community has grown so much so quickly over the past couple of years, and we could not have sustained this many people without a dedicated Community Outreach staff member. It is thanks to supporters and volunteers like you that have made this community possible!  

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Margarita Rescuing Food
Margarita Rescuing Food

"I was dropping off food at the Antonio Oliveri Center, a homeless shelter for youth. Among the food was a huge platter of a variety of sandwiches. As I unloaded the cart, and took out the sandwiches a young African American girl approached me. She proceeded to ask me multiple questions. "Where are the sandwiches from? What kind of sandwiches are they??" She concluded her stretch of questions with the exclamation, “They look so delicious!”  She was so excited to see the sandwiches that she looked like she was about to burst with happiness! As she was hopping up and down with excitement, she looked away and asked the kitchen staff if they could eat the sandwiches right then. The staff noticed how happy she was and couldn’t say no to her. That is when I really realized that I had never seen anyone that happy just to see food, and no one should be that happy to see food. The impact we have, just by dropping off food, no matter how much, is huge and very important, especially to those who don’t know when their next meal will be. I will never forget that moment; it is one of the moments that drives me to keep working with RLC."   - Margarita, Lead Rescuer

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Every single day, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine volunteers like Margarita drop off more than half a ton of food, which would have otherwise been wasted, at our partner human services agencies, making hundreds of people as happy as this young lady above. Since the beginning of 2016, we have rescued over 120,000 lbs of food from going to landfills, which means 100,000 meals were provided and 45,000 pounds of CO2 equivalent were prevented from being emitted. This increase represents a 300% growth year over year, and we have been off to a great start. 

 

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine now works with food businesses such as Dig Inn, Pisillo, and even more Starbucks locations. It currently costs us $0.10 per pound to rescue food, and we are only able to grow this quickly because of the support of amazing individuals and supporters who provide the funding to pay for the materials of food packaging, transportation, and logistics for food that would have been thrown away. 

 

Although we continue to grow as rapidly as we can, we currently have a waitlist of food businesses almost as large as our list of current partners who looking to work with us and donate their food to us but we do not have the resources to accommodate their excess food. Our hope is one day to grow to a point where we can rescue all of the food that these food companies have, and as we onboard these new partnered companies such as Longhorn Steakhouse and Wasabi, we will let you know! Thank you so much again! 

 

 

Food Rescue Process
Food Rescue Process
Line in front of NYC Rescue Mission
Line in front of NYC Rescue Mission
Typical Meal Served at Homeless Shelter
Typical Meal Served at Homeless Shelter

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Organization Information

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Inc.

Location: Flushing, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @rescuingcuisine
Project Leader:
Robert Lee
New York, NY United States
$582,911 raised of $600,000 goal
 
5,872 donations
$17,089 to go
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