With thousands of people facing food insecurity every day, there’s no reason fresh, quality food should go to waste. Over 119 billion pounds of quality food is discarded in the U.S. each year equating to a shocking 40% of all food in America going to waste. Food Bank of Wyoming is combatting this waste through its Grocery Rescue Program, which connects local pantries and grocery stores so fresh food can go to people, not to the landfill.
The single largest amount of material sent to landfills in the U.S. comes from food waste. To reduce this amount and ensure community members receive the nourishing food they need to thrive, in fiscal year 2022 Food Bank of Wyoming worked with retail and agricultural partners to procure and distribute over 4.4 million pounds of food through its Grocery Rescue Program. The idea is simple, high-quality food that would otherwise go to waste is collected from grocery stores that can no longer sell the items and distributed to pantries that provide food to people facing hunger. These groceries include a variety of products, such as meat, fresh produce, bakery items, deli items, dairy, frozen foods, shelf-stable groceries, and non-food items such as hand sanitizer, paper products, etc.
By working with local grocery stores and hunger relief partners, Food Bank of Wyoming facilitates the Grocery Rescue Program to reach a shared goal of reducing food waste and feeding Wyoming neighbors. Starting at the grocery stores, fresh, yet unbought food nearing the end of its sell-by date that is perfectly good is donated to Food Bank of Wyoming, which then distributes it to food pantries around the state. From there, this nutritious food is made available to residents.
Take Lander Care and Share for example. As a food pantry, Lander Care and Share works closely with Food Bank of Wyoming to receive and distribute food to its local community – especially through the Grocery Rescue Program. In fact, Lander Care and Share receives 4,000 pounds of overstock items including fresh produce, eggs, bread, and fruits and vegetables, every other week from the Walmart in Cheyenne.
“This food from both Walmart and Safeway [in Lander] amounts to half of what we distribute throughout all of Fremont County, including the Wind River Reservation. Not only does it help cut down our costs, but the Grocery Rescue Program makes it possible to serve our community. It’s a very innovative approach to cut food waste and still feed our community. These food items are fresh, wholesome, and enhance our offerings,” said Lander Care and Share Executive Director Stacy Stebner.
With over 59,000 people in Wyoming facing hunger, there should be no reason perfectly good food and groceries should be thrown away. If you’re a retailer interested in reducing food waste, feeding Wyoming neighbors, and partnering with the Grocery Rescue Program, contact Food Bank of Wyoming at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grocery Rescue Program relies on donations and grants to ensure logistics are in place to successfully pick-up and deliver this food. If you’d like to support Food Bank of Wyoming and the work it does with hunger relief partners around the state, donate today at wyomingfoodbank.org/give/. Your donation makes all the difference to people facing hunger.