noun. An act of saving or being saved.
In 1965, while volunteering at a community meal site in Arizona, John van Hengel learned that grocery stores often had to throw away food that had damaged packaging or was near expiration. He started collecting that food for the community meal but soon had too much for that one program. He thought of creating a central location from which any agency could come and receive donations. Described as a classic case of “if you build it they will come,” the first food bank was created based on the model of rescuing food.
The Vermont Foodbank has been rescuing food since 1986 and continues to look for new sources of food to share with the as many as 86,000 Vermonters struggling with hunger. Last year, as part of a three-year pledge, VSECU decided to partner with the Foodbank to ensure that food that was otherwise going to waste, made its way to the tables of the most vulnerable Vermonters. According to Steve Post, VSECU’s chief executive officer; “VSECU is a committed long-time supporter of the Vermont Foodbank as its work is so vital to thousands of Vermonters across the state. Our Board of Directors believes that the Foodbank’s mission is so essential to the health of our state that they pledged $120,000 over three years to help power the Foodbank trucks that helps rescue and provide food to Vermonters in need.”
On a slow day, the VSECU truck makes eight stops—picking up meat, produce, and other grocery products in and around the Rutland area and making delivers of food to food shelves and to programs like Community Kitchen Academy in Barre. Driver, Joe Palmer travels a number of food rescue routes throughout Vermont. “When a new store comes on board and they start donating hundreds of pounds of food, I think about how all of that food—good food—used to be thrown away.” Last year, the Vermont Foodbank rescued more than 3 million pounds of food, making up more than 42% of our total distribution.
For more information on VSECU, please visit the VSECU website. Food rescue isn’t possible without the support of VSECU and individual supporters. Please consider giving to the Vermont Foodbank today!