You may have heard the recent story on the Starbucks initiative to recover their unused food and donate it to local food banks. You might not know that one local Denver non-profit, We Don’t Waste, has been doing this exact thing for the past 6 years, right here in our community. We’re happy to present a guest blog by Arlan Preblud, Executive Director of We Don’t Waste:
I was an attorney and longtime Denver resident when, about 6 years ago, I noticed there was a disconnect between how we were feeding the “food insecure,” and what I thought we, as a community, could provide. After closing my law practice I started working on my own through the Denver City Parish to gather unused food from restaurants and caterers and deliver it in the back of my Volvo to community-based non-profit agencies. In April 2011, I filed for my a 501(c)(3), which was approved just one month later creating We Don’t Waste as a non-profit entity.
Shockingly, 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted and nearly 1 in 5 Colorado children are food insecure. For those reasons, We Don’t Waste partners with 120 community partners and we’re continuing to grow. An Aurora public school launched a student-led food recovery program last year that we’re proud to be a part of and we’re planning to add four additional Aurora schools in the fall of 2016. As far as I’m aware, We Don’t Waste is the only group collaborating with local schools to reduce food waste. The fantastic thing about the school program is that it was conceived and executed by the students themselves. It’s amazing to me what people can accomplish when they see a problem and set their minds to solving it.
In addition to local restaurants, caterers and event venues, We Don’t Waste recovers food from Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium after Broncos games and private events, the Pepsi Center, and just recently launched a partnership with Coors Field to collect unused food after Colorado Rockies games.
90% of fresh water in the world goes to producing food, so not only is We Don’t Waste making a huge difference in the Colorado food-insecurity crisis, we also have a strong environmental impact by curbing the amount of food heading to the landfill.
Since 2009, We Don’t Waste has provided more than 17 million servings of food to those in need. So far just this year, We Don’t Waste has recovered and redistributed:
February: 1.5 million servings
March: 2.5 million servings
April: 2.3 million servings
On May 21st, The Modern Eater radio show is hosting the Dumpster Dinner & Dumpster Dance with 100% of proceeds going directly to We Don’t Waste. Local top chefs including Chef Daniel Asher of Linger, Chef Nicole Olst of Epicurean Group and Chef Preston Phillips of Grind Kitchen will prepare meals with food otherwise destined for the landfill during a grand evening of fantastic food, libations, live music and unique entertainment (think fire spinners, contortionists, aerial bartenders and stilt walkers). Learn more and buy tickets here: http://dumpsterdinner.com/