More Than $1 Million Worth of Food Rescued in Northern Fairfield County

Rescued food nourishes our community's most vulnerable, fuels the Food Rescue Team

Each day, Kerri Colombo walks into Western Connecticut grocery stores to rescue food.
Pallets of food.
On an average day, she and other Food Rescue Team members will load approximately 3,000 pounds of food on to a 14-foot refrigerated truck for distribution to food pantries and service organizations throughout Greater Danbury.
The Food Rescue Team is sponsored by Danbury Food Collaborative (DFC) members, with critical backbone support United Way of Western Connecticut. DFC member Mike Greene (previously profiled here) began the Food Rescue initiative in October 2017, and since, he, Kerri and additional volunteers have rescued food valued at more than $1 million.
“If we did not rescue this perfectly good food, the stores would end up throwing it away,” Mike said of his team's efforts. “We are rescuing wonderful fresh vegetables—like broccoli and cucumbers—every day and getting them to people in need.” The Food Rescue Team often get to stores to find whole cases of frozen chicken, fish, and even steaks—all of which are close to their sell-by dates--waiting to be rescued. For the past 64 weeks, this effort has been rescuing as much as 15,000 pounds—enough food to feed approximately 500 families—each week. (Rescued food is valued at $1.67 per pound by Feeding America).
Kerri has spent almost every weekday morning over the past seven months driving to local food stores, such as COSTCO, BJs, ShopRite and Big Y, to pick up fresh, healthy food for donation to DFC member organizations. The pantries are able to accept these deliveries thanks to refrigerators and freezers they obtained through DFC grants, and then distribute them to their clients. The rescued food is often of higher quality and of greater nutritional value than the foods that pantry clients typically receive.
Although it’s a physically demanding job,  Kerri embraces the challenge.“When I make a delivery, I am so moved when I see smiling faces full of gratitude as people wait patiently to go inside from the cold, heat, rain, or snow to receive food for their families,” she said. “Friends and strangers approach me to share stories of how impressed they are with the service and care we provide and ask how they can help make a difference.”
“Through my example, my daughters see that opportunities to make a positive impact in the world are limitless and women can do anything,"  Kerri continued.
For more information about the DFC and its food rescue efforts, contact Cara Donovan, United Way of Western Connecticut's Food Policy Manager , at 203-883-0879 or cara.donovan@uwwesternct.org.

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