The Community Resource Center of Teton Valley Food Rescue Program, now two and a half years old, has saved 100,000 pounds of food from going to waste since its inception.
Inspired by Hole Food Rescue in Jackson, former CRC executive director Megan O’Brien started Teton Valley Food Rescue in November of 2016. A group of volunteers pick up recently expired milk, bruised tomatoes, and day-old bread from Broulim’s and 460 Bread, as well as other vendors occasionally, and distribute the food to a growing number of locations. Now executive director Betsy Hawkins estimates they’ve picked up 50 tons of food, a retail value of around a quarter million dollars based on USDA numbers. Any rescued food that doesn’t go to people in need is fed to livestock, which means none of it is going in the landfill.
Volunteers have been dropping food off at the CRC office, Family Safety Network, Seniors West of the Tetons, and the Teton Valley Food Pantry for the entirety of the program, and added the See N’ Save as another location last year. Now CRC has partnered with the ABC Afterschool Program to find more recipients.
“Children in afterschool receive priority based on their free or reduced lunch status and those are the families we’re trying to reach,” Hawkins said. “Fortunately we’ll be able to continue to partner with them throughout the summer.”
Hawkins said that she had received feedback that many people in Victor didn’t have the time or transportation to get food in Driggs, so CRC added a food pick-up option at Victor Elementary on Thursday nights. She said the Victor turnout is great; between 30 and 40 families show up for food each week.
“It’s amazing we can have that much of an impact without costing the organization much money,” she added.
With three pick-ups a day, six days a week, the program can always use more volunteers. Call (208) 354-0870 or email email@example.com to get involved.
“People’s lives just ebb and flow,” Hawkins said. “We have a pretty excellent volunteer base as it is, but more people to fill in scheduling holes would not be a bad thing.”