Most of us would guess that our food industry generates a fair amount of waste as it tries to meet our needs and expectations. But few of us realize what a HUGE amount of great food is thrown away every day in Ames!
It’s not because anyone is doing anything “wrong”. The reality is that we live in an incredibly abundant economy (compared to other parts of the world), and we are very picky about what we buy off of our grocery shelves. Additionally, it makes more business sense for grocers to have too much of everything, to account for the fluctuating demand in a small town like ours.
So what we end up with is beautiful apples, bright green lettuce, and tasty spare ribs that just don’t sell in time. In the past, they were simply thrown away, because it takes a GREAT amount of effort to connect this resource with the people in our town who really need it.
That’s exactly what the hundreds of Food At First volunteers now do, several times per day, every day of the year! We pick up from Walmart, Sam’s Club, ISU Dining, Hy-Vee, Aldi’s, Panera, Chipolte, Red Lobster, Pizza Hut and numerous other generous donors. We also receive fresh food from local farmers in season, through the Plant A Row for the Hungry program and individual donations, plus don’t forget the annual Food at First Sweet Corn Day event.
The food is used for our free meals as well as our food pantry. A schedule of pickups is located here. If you have any questions or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!