Hi, my name is Patty, and I love to rescue food!
I have four grown children, for the last several years have not worked at a job – just concentrated on volunteering with several organizations around town – mostly fundraising. With all the changes with this pandemic, most volunteer opportunities have suspended fundraising events, and in-person volunteering. But my volunteering at a soup kitchen in OTR has continued (thank god I can find an excuse to get out of the house!).
For about 15 years I have helped out preparing and serving food to people in OTR. Most guests were daily patrons and we had the opportunity to let them in out of the cold or heat. We fed them a nutritious meal, gave them cups of strong coffee and a space to play cards or checkers or just sit and talk with their buddies. Then in March we had to shut the doors and serve to-go meals only – so hard to see the lines outside our building.
Volunteering at a soup kitchen has been eye-opening for me and my husband. The kitchen prepares the daily meals based only on what is donated. As a volunteer we saw the creativity the staff had to use to serve a balanced meal without a fully stocked pantry or reliable fresh food donations. I became a donation pick-up driver; some were regular pickups – others were one-time donations.
Many times there were no fresh vegetables, or pantry staples like sugar for coffee, or pepper.
We shopped at big box stores to buy some much needed supplies the kitchen needed – vegetables, or creamer, or mustard to donate. Sometimes the kitchen received very generous donations that overwhelmed the freezer or cooler space. Several times I called friends who worked for outreach centers in OTR to see if their organization could use our surplus before it spoiled.
I kept thinking that organizations in the Cincinnati area should work together to share resources – but I didn’t know how to do it.
That’s when Last Mile came into the picture…
I was very interested in Last Mile Food Rescue and signed up in late November. It is a perfect opportunity to link donors with community organizations that can distribute to those who need help – using readily available technology. I signed up to be a driver – and felt safe right from the start (I go thru lots of disposable gloves and hand sanitizer – and wash my mask nightly).
Such a clever app to be able to select the food rescues that fit into my schedule and area of town.
I’m amazed at the generosity of the donors – and always make sure to thank them. I especially love to pick up dairy products that otherwise would have been thrown away – and deliver to an organization who is so thankful to have it.
I love to find out about the places where I drop off donations – how they help the community. There are so many outreach centers I didn’t know existed! So many people who are helping others! This is a great inspiration for me!
Patty : Food Rescue Super Hero
Rescues completed: 42
Pounds of food saved: 7,362
Non-profits served: 6