Q-C group gets award for cutting food waste
The Food Rescue Partnership of the Quad-Cities has received an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts in preventing food waste and diverting excess to people in need.
The partnership is a nonprofit that started in 2013 as a program of the Scott County Health Department, helping to link Quad-City restaurants and food stores with agencies or groups that distribute or serve food to those who need it.
The partnership doesn’t necessarily do the hands-on delivery — although it can in emergency situations — but it educates and gets awareness out in the community so that restaurants and food stores will become involved in donating, Christina McDonough, partnership board director, said.
The partnership’s focus is to find a home for excess prepared food that otherwise would be thrown away.
During the week that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that restaurants could no longer offer dining in their buildings because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the partnership helped divert 4,000 pounds of food, compared to the normal average of 100 pounds, McDonough said.
She gave a special shout-out to Chris Carton of the River Center and Chef Yolanda Jefferson of Black Pearl Catering for their help in facilitating food donations from “point A to point B.”
The 19 establishments that participate in the program on a regular basis are Arby’s, the Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley community school districts, Black Pearl Catering, Crawford Brew Works, Dairy Queen, Davenport Elk’s Club, Donuts & More, Garden Ministry, Hemispheres Bistro, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Kwik Trip, Inc. / Kwik Star, North Scott Foods, Popcorn Charlie and Co., Ross’ Restaurant, Target, The River Center/The Adler Theatre, Village Corner Deli and Word of Life Food Pantry.
Among the groups that receive food are Café on Vine, The Salvation Army, Humility Homes & Services, Churches United and Word of Life Food Pantry.
Since the partnership began tracking its food diversions in 2017, it has tallied more than 52,000 pounds going to people instead of landfills, McDonough said.
The award from the EPA was for work done in calendar year 2018.
“This coalition has helped the Quad-Cities reduce hunger, save homey and protect the environment by diverting food waste from landfills, EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford said in a news release announcing the award.
Food waste is the single largest type of waste thrown away each year in daily trash, according to the EPA. In 2017, more than 40 million tons of food was was generated. Food waste adversely impacts the economy, our communities and the environment by wasting the resources used to grow and transport food.
At the same time, about 11% of America’s households had difficulty providing enough food for all of their family members in 2018, and that percentage is expected to grow because of unemployment caused by the pandemic.
For more information about the partnership, visit its website at foodrescueqc.org