How a Massachusetts Nonprofit Saves Food That’s About to Be Thrown Out — Massachusetts

ERICA: THE CONTENTS OF THIS MEAL COULD EASILY HAVE ENDED THE FLYING. INSTEAD HE WAS SAVED. >> THIS IS MGH. IT’S A BUNCH OF LIGHTHOUSES, AND YOU CAN SEE THERE’S ABOUT 10 POUNDS OF LIGHTHOUSES THAT OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN COMPOSTED. ERIKA: MOST BULK FOODS, FROM PLACES LIKE HOSPITALS AND CAMPUS REGISTRATION SERVICES, ARE IMAGINEED ON BALANCED PLATES. PACKAGED SINGLE PORTIONS, READY TO HEAT AND EAT. THEIR DESTINATIONS? >> SCHOOLS OR ADULT EDUCATION CENTERS, K THROUGH 12 PUBLIC SCHOOLS, COMMUNITY COLLEGES. ERIKA: CALLED HEATNEATS, THE PROGRAM IS JUST ONE OF MANY FREE SOMERVILLE-BASED FOOD RUNS. THE NON-PROFIT HAS BEEN SAVING FOOD FROM WASTE SINCE 1981. UP TO A THOUSAND SUCH MEALS DELIVERED EACH WEEK. >> WE MAKE ABOUT 12 STOPS A DAY. IF YOU ASK EVERYONE WHO WORKS AT FOOD FOR FREE, WE WOULD LIKE TO DELIVER 7 DAYS A WEEK. ERIKA: DOMINIC CARTER IS A FOUNDATION FOR FREELANCE ACCOUNTANTS. HE INVITED US TO TAG TOGETHER. >> LET’S DO IT. ERIKA: THANKS FOR TAKING ME WITH YOU. >> ANY TIME. ERICA: THIS DAY WE MAKE IT TO EAST BOSTON HARBORSIDE COMMUNITY SCHOOL. >> NICE TO SEE YOU. ERIKA: LEAH GREGORY IS PROGRAM COORDINATOR. >> HARBORSIDE IS AN ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAM IN EAST BOSTON. WE HAVE MOTHER LANGUAGE COURSES, ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE, HIGH SCHOOL EQUALITY AND FAMILY LANGUAGE PROGRAM. ERIKA: SAYING THANKS TO FREE FOOD, THEY HELP UP TO 200 FAMILIES A WEEK. LEAH SAYS HUNGER SHOULD NEVER BE AN OBSTACLE TO UPPER MOBILITY. >> IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO FULFILL THESE NEEDS, TO LEARN AND TAKE CLASSES AND GO TO NIGHT SCHOOL. >> RIGHT NOW, MASSACHUSETTS HAS SOMEWHERE ABOUT 15% TO 16% OF HOUSEHOLDS THAT ARE FOOD INSECURE. THIS NUMBER IS EVEN HIGHER FOR HOUSEHOLDS WITH CHILDREN, AT 21%. ERIKA: THIS THANKSGIVING SEASON, THE FREE FOOD IS THANKFUL TO THE DONORS OF THE FOOD, AND ALSO TO THEIR VOLUNTEERS, WHO DO THE PORTIONING AND PACKING. >> THE PROGRAM CAN REALLY BECOME AS BIG AS WE HAVE VOLUNTEERS TO TURN THESE DONATIONS INTO MICROWAVE MEALS. ERIKA: THROUGH PROGRAMS LIKE THIS, FOOD FOR FREE RESCUES 8,000,000 POUNDS OF FOOD A YEAR, SERVING 40,000 LOCALS

How a Massachusetts Nonprofit Saves Food That’s About to Be Thrown Out


Excess bulk food from places like Massachusetts hospitals and campus dining services is repurposed into balanced plates, packaged in individual portions, ready to heat and eat. Called Heat-n-Eats, the program is just one of many run by Somerville-based Food For Free. The nonprofit organization has been saving food from landfills since 1981. Up to a thousand meals like this are delivered each week. “We do about 12 stops a day,” said Dominic Carter, one of Food For Free’s Logistics Specialists. “If you ask everyone who works at Food For Free, we’d love to deliver 7 days a week.” Harborside, an adult education program in East Boston, has native language literacy, English as a second language, high school equivalency, and a family literacy program. Leah Gregory, program coordinator, says that thanks to Food for Free, they help up to 200 families a week. Leah says hunger should never be a barrier to upward mobility. “It’s so important to have those needs met so you can learn and go to classes and go to night school,” Gregory said. “Massachusetts has about 15 to 16 percent of households that are food insecure,” said Sam McDermott, program director at Food For Free. “This number is even higher for households with children at 21 percent.” This season of thanksgiving, Food for Free is grateful for food donors and their volunteers who do the portioning and packaging.” The program can truly grow as we have volunteers turn these donations into baked goods microwave,” McDermott said.

Excess bulk food from places like Massachusetts hospitals and campus dining services is repurposed into balanced plates, packaged in individual portions, ready to heat and eat.

Called Heat-n-Eats, the program is just one of many run by Somerville-based Food For Free. The nonprofit organization has been saving food from landfills since 1981. Up to a thousand meals like this are delivered each week.

“We do about 12 stops a day,” said Dominic Carter, one of Food For Free’s Logistics Specialists. “If you ask everyone who works at Food For Free, we’d love to deliver 7 days a week.”

Harborside, an adult education program in East Boston, offers native language literacy, English as a second language, high school equivalency, and a family literacy program.

Leah Gregory, program coordinator, says that thanks to Food for Free, they help up to 200 families a week. Leah says hunger should never be a barrier to upward mobility.

“It’s so important to have those needs met to be able to learn and go to classes and go to night school,” Gregory said.

“Massachusetts has about 15 to 16 percent of households that are food insecure,” said Sam McDermott, program director at Food For Free. “That number is even higher for households that have children at 21 percent.”

In this season of thanksgiving, Food for Free is grateful for food donors and their volunteers who do the portioning and packing.

β€œThe program can really get as big as we have volunteers to turn those donations into microwaveable meals,” McDermott said.

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