Did you know that 40% of food is wasted in this country...yet it only takes 30% of the food to feed everyone in the nation? According to Poughkeepsie Plenty, ¼ of households in Poughkeepsie are food-insecure.
A new organization, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, was started over the summer of 2015 to help reduce food wastes in Poughkeepsie and the Dutchess County area. I recently talked to Siennah Yang, a student at Vassar College, who started the Poughkeepsie branch.
Can you tell us a little about Rescuing Leftover Cuisine?
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine was founded on July 3, 2013 in New York City. The two founders, Robert Lee and Louisa Chen, were both part of a university organization called Two Birds One Stone, which delivered leftover dining hall food on campus to homeless shelters.
After graduation, they started RLC, which takes leftover, unsellable, excess food from restaurants, farmers markets, wholesalers, and donate it to food pantries and soup kitchens in an effort to reduce food waste. RLC is entirely volunteer based, so all food is transported by volunteers.
The purpose of RLC is to make food rescue efforts easily replicable, and can be easily integrated as a small part of one's work/school schedule. Delivery can be made at very low cost (on average less than 10 cents per delivery).
How and when did you start the Poughkeepsie branch?
I was inspired by Tristram Stuart’s video called the Global Food Waste Scandal (see below) and got really interested in his project called Feeding the 5000. I reached out to him, and was put in touch with Robert from Rescuing Leftover Cuisines. Although I have never heard of the organization before, I was quickly sold on the idea of starting a Poughkeepsie branch.
I started working on RLC over the summer and it has been in operation for over 3 months. Food donors have already donated over 10200 pounds of food since June!
What kind of food are you looking for? Who can donate?
Food donors can choose to donate any type of food (cooked food, meat, veggies, canned food, ingredients, additives) at any time of the week, any schedule (regularly or on call) and at any amount. When food donors have food, they can email me a schedule for regular pick up, or they can call me whenever they have food.
All food donations are 50% tax deductible, are all protected by the Good Samaritan Law and the company's food agreement form for any food liability and safety concerns.
So far, I have food donors in Rhinebeck, Fishkill, Lagrange, Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, Beacon and Kingston.
Are you looking for volunteers? How can one help?
Yes! We have been growing so rapidly, I am looking for anyone and any organization that is interested in helping RLC. Volunteers can help in multiple ways:
- Volunteers to help transport and deliver the food, or become an area coordinator and be responsible for all pick ups in the location. It is preferable for volunteers who want to transport food to have access to a car.
- There is an immediate need for volunteers from Fishkill to pick up donations from Fishkill Farm once a week. We are opening a new branch in New Paltz soon and are looking for volunteers there as well.
- Volunteers to help publicize the organization by posting on social media, writing blogs, posting flyers.
If you are interested in volunteering:
Sign up here: http://goo.gl/forms/Yka3GxiSdY or
Email Siennah at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact Siennah through
Subscribe to Inside SCOOP from: rescuingleftovercuisine.org
Can you tell us about the current donors, and food recipients?
There are always new donors, but these are the ones that have donated in the past. Thank you so much!
- Nonna’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurant
- My Brother Bobby’s Salsa
- Arch River Farm, Wilklow Orchards, Earth to Table at the Arlington Farmers Market
- Sidney's Best from Juliet: Vassar Bookstore
- Lagrange - Hannaford's Supermarket
- Kingston - Fleisher’s
- Rhinebeck - Smoky Rock BBQ
- Hyde Park
- Fino’s Farm from the Hyde Park and Fishkill Farmers Market
- Athanas Farm from the Hyde Park Farmers Market
- Clancy’s Cafe and Creamery in Fishkill
- Fishkill Farm
- Homespun Food in Beacon
- Nana's Home Kitchen, White Pine Community Garden, Alewife Farm, All You Knead, Edgewick, Common Grounds Farm from the Beacon Farmers Market
- We are collaborating with Zero to Go (http://www.zerotogo.org) in the future for all Beacon deliveries.
Food is being donated to the following organizations:
- Dutchess Outreach
- Hudson River Housing: The Lodge, Hillcrest Shelter, River Haven
- Catharine St. Community Center in Poughkeepsie
- St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie
- Salvation Army
- Holy Light Pentecostal Church
- Meals on Wheels Dutchess CAP (Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Dover Plains)
- Hyde Park Food Pantry
- Chiz’s Heart Street in Kingston
- Caring Hands in Kingston
- Kingston Free Farm Stand