4 Ways To Be Ready For SB 1383Food Waste

4 Ways To Be Ready For SB 1383

It’s almost here, the anticipated January 2022 kick off of the “all hands on deck” aspect of the organic recycling mandate, SB 1383. California will begin enforcing the donation, recycling and otherwise diversion from landfills of organic (much of which is food) waste.

As a food recovery nonprofit we’ll be focusing on the food aspect rather than the sticks and leaves part, and there’s much you can do, as a resident and as a business, to ensure your bins are divested of the usual food scraps and leftovers.

Let’s start with the most obvious, which is, use those edible parts up! The farm to table movement has taught us not just to eat locally, but hopefully

to clean your plate, and we mean that in the less literal sense, whether you’re making soup from bones or peels, squirreling away seeds to plant in a garden, or simply finding recipes that inspire using every last bit of an ingredient.

Next, and easy but not always done properly, is food storage. How often do you have every intention of cooking something but life shifts, and you find a sad head of cauliflower at the back of the fridge two weeks later or those leftover chicken wings protesting in silence, ignored and forgotten? It happens. But if you choose the right storage container, you can at least give those items a fighting chance to last another day or two longer than they would normally.

The largest amount of food waste happens at the consumer level, this we know. But, the newer options for home composting are coming fast and furious, and it’s possible that the compost bin will become as common on countertops as the toaster oven or coffeemaker. Yes, you have to find a place to put the table scraps after they sit in your kitchen composter, but the plan is for waste haulers to offer organic bins to help you dispose of it easily. For now, it’s no harder to toss strawberry tops and eggshells into a shiny thingy on your counter than on your floor. And if you do take it full circle, the outdoor compost receptacles are easily had and pretty simple to use.

Finally, and this especially goes for businesses, you can always donate what you can’t use! We’re talking safely edible items, of course. Did you buy too many bags of burger buns, have some canned goods about to expire that you can’t use, prep a pan of rice that went unserved? It can be donated to a nonprofit that feeds people rather than tossed. Food Finders serves more than 400 pantries, shelters, missions, and centers that can use the food that others can’t, and with 1 in 6 people experiencing hunger regularly, donations are highly encouraged.

Need more info? Be sure to contact us directly, 562-283-1400.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact


A Trifecta of Giving With Food Finders

A donor of ours recently shared that he loves supporting Food Finders, which he started doing through his company giving campaign, then began volunteering as a food rescuer where he sees the program benefits firsthand. “It’s like I’m helping 3 organizations at once–Food Finders, the recipient, and the food donor.” It’s a wonderful testament on how to have a huge impact with a single focus.

We call it the Trifecta of Giving.

Food Finders’ mission is two-fold, which is to help reduce hunger and help the environment by rescuing food and reducing food waste. We tend to emphasize the former more than the latter in our messages and outcomes, but let’s look at some real and impactful numbers overall.

Food Finders provides an average of 30,000 meals worth of food…DAILY! Hard to imagine, but given that millions of pounds of fresh produce, dairy products, meats, prepared foods, baked goods, and nonperishables are donated annually, it adds up quickly, and the more donors realize we’re a resource, the more it adds up. Your donation, be it money or food or volunteer time, helps us run a well-oiled nonprofit and ensure we connect all the dots—or food–efficiently. So, you’re already a part of a bigger picture just by helping Food Finders.

Which leads us to the second arm of the trifecta — our partner agencies. Right now, we serve more than 550 nonprofit partners that are spread across four Southern California counties. That’s a huge reach. This includes large missions that feed hundreds of people daily down to small recovery homes that feed roughly a dozen people. When volunteers come and pack a few dozen food boxes or rescue a hundred pounds of fresh food, dozens of people in need can eat as a result, all in exchange for an hour or two of time. It also means those agencies providing the food directly can save some of their hard-earned funding to use on other services or spread their dollar farther. How rewarding is that?

When it comes to helping our more than 700 food donors, we’re more in demand now than ever. Many businesses are having to reduce their organic waste by 75%, per new state mandates. Restaurants, grocers, food distribution centers, and even a corporate kitchens, schools and hospitals must ensure that excess food is diverted, meaning composted, converted to animal feed, or our favorite, donated to feed people, because starting January, fines will be enforced. Many businesses are already a step-ahead and have been donating food overages for years. Saving money for our food donors so they can do the right thing is a no-brainer, and the third arm of our trifecta.

Sounds like a win-win-win so far!

But, wait, there’s more. Our environment appreciates your support as well. Imagine what it means when 16 million pounds of wholesome food is diverted from landfills? Thankfully, someone already calculated for us. It means 8.6 million pounds of Co2e are eliminated. It also equates to 7,296,000,000 (that’s not a typo) gallons of water saved. Food takes a lot of water to grow, plus labor and transportation to get it to market. You’re essentially helping our planet when you support Food Finders.

One final bonus—supporting our organization, you are helping YOU. Sharing a kindness keeps us well mentally and all around.

So, on behalf of everyone we serve, thank you for choosing to support Food Finders. Be well.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Individual Spotlight

On Being Grateful

My son has been learning Latin on Babbel, a language app, and sometimes we discuss the roots of various words, since he also took French, and I took Spanish decades earlier. It’s fun to compare similarities in the languages. Since we are approaching the time of year when the word ‘Grateful’ is foremost on our minds, not to mention in stores teeming with Thanksgiving holiday décor, I became curious of its origin.

Grateful, it turns out, is rooted in the Latin word ‘gratus’ which originally meant pleasing or agreeable. What’s more, the word was at its highest usage back in 1800. From there its usage went steadily downhill. Around 1920 it started a resurgence, and in the past twenty years or so, ‘grateful’ has been on a steady upswing and is nearly back to the same high level of usage as in 1800. Humanity is #bringinggratefulback.

Despite the past couple of harrowing years that have included a pandemic, political upheaval, and rising mental health concerns, we’re frequently reminded to be grateful either via a myriad of articles, TEDTalks, and personal growth podcasts, or like when you notice gas prices rising but realize your commute was cut in half now that you work from home part of the week. Being reminded is good, because by noting what we’re grateful for we generate good vibes, a shift in our outlook, and potentially even more things to be grateful for. Kristi Nelson, we hear you.

At Food Finders we also hear words of thanks and gratefulness, and it’s rewarding to know people appreciate what we do as an organization. But what we love hearing even more is why they are grateful. The obvious answer is because they didn’t go hungry. Pressing further, we learn it’s much more. It might be because they are a student who could better focus on their studies that will ultimately help them attain a decent salary. Maybe they’re a single mother who could rest easy knowing her rent will be paid now that her food bill is less of an issue. It’s also the senior on a limited income who could live more comfortably because he didn’t have to choose between buying medication or food. There are countless benefits in the form of why they are grateful.

Our new campaign and mantra “more than just food” spotlights these benefits. We want to remind not just ourselves, but all of you who support us, we’re more to our recipients than a meal or a full pantry shelf. As a food rescue organization, we’re helping provide a sense of security, an opportunity for togetherness, and lasting well-being. Particularly during the holidays when food is a focal point of every event and celebration, we recognize that providing something as simple as a frozen turkey can make the difference between a jumble of stress and a joyful memory.

Writer Naomi Williams made a wonderful observation when she said, “It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” By providing food, we’re providing something that can make all the difference in people’s lives, one moment at a time. Maybe even longer.

You can help us continue providing more than just food by donating today.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact


Not Just Happy Holidays, Happy Memories

We’re approaching the time of year so many people see as the break in a long string of busy months and repeated tasks that constitute everyday life. The holidays—no matter your practice, beliefs, or customs, are a time to celebrate and convene with family and friends, if only for a day or two.

At places like Food Finders, it’s the busiest time of year, with food distributions often doubling and partners asking for specialty items or hoping for extra food like turkeys and other traditional fare to give to individuals and families who, like everyone else, look forward to a special meal they can share with those they love.

Beyond food, we know we’re providing things like hope, security, stability, and even joy. What do you think of when you think of holidays? Do you have a favorite food you look forward to eating in front of the fireplace? You might host a potluck at work or bake for friends? Maybe you visit family that you live away from or take a special trip that holds meaning for just that time of year.

It’s not just about food, but about memories.

Like, remember the time you made your first turkey and how great it turned out? How your grandpa told the best jokes whenever he drank a little eggnog? Or what about the time you had tacos instead of a traditional meal and it was the best holiday dinner you’d ever had because of who you shared it with?

We know that food is the gateway to so many holiday highlights, albeit a huge part, and can mean the difference between a wonderful experience and a woeful one. Which is why we make the extra effort to plan, produce and provide so much during this time of year. Being a resource that can make the difference between a forgettable and a memorable holiday is extra meaningful, and hearing stories of gratitude make it that much more rewarding.

We hope you’ll play a part in this year’s holiday season that involves giving back, whether it’s food or something equally important. To learn more about what Food Finders is doing, see our events page.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Food Finders News

Awareness + Action = Impact

September is Hunger Awareness Month, and as the month kicked off, we found ourselves still addressing high levels of food insecurity due to Covid. People are seriously struggling in many communities to put food on the table–1 in 6 people are going hungry every day just in California alone.

You may not know any of those people, but our drivers and volunteers see them every day. And our staff receives calls from individuals asking, “Do you give out food, or Where can I go that does?”

Here are two stories from our nonprofit partners who saw firsthand the impact of COVID:

“We never stopped through Covid, and because of your wonderful organization, we were able to feed all displaced shelter guests. We gloved up, masked up and gowned up to deliver 137,000 meals in 11 months to the sick, the elderly, and families living out of motels. That was 6 days a week, 3 meals a day and a snack and water–literally we stepped in and helped these souls survive. It was Food Finders !! It was you and our hands and feet!” – Lighthouse Outreach in Costa Mesa.

“We were able to serve hundreds of youths and their families throughout summer and beyond. The Food Finders donations ensured we could provide fresh produce boxes to families, some we’ve never seen before, along with other nonperishable items as well. Thank you so much!” – YMCA in Greater Long Beach

We are hopeful amid health and economic uncertainties that, before end of year, our communities and residents will see a return to pre-pandemic levels of hunger or better, which is not to say hunger will go away. Food Finders is still a much needed, crucial resource to hundreds of nonprofits daily.

The GREAT news is that you can do something impactful. Even if you help just one person, knowing they made it through another day without going hungry is a good place to start. We encourage everyone to read and share about our latest list of 4 Ways To Donate Without Spending Extra, and to also consider getting friends or coworkers involved in raising funds, particularly on Thursday for Long Beach Gives or in November for Giving Tuesday. Everything helps!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact


Flux Sucks – Goodwill Is A Good Antidote

The heat is on, the season is in full swing, and families, employers, and businesses are still in various stages of flux. If you’d bet the pandemic would last past a year, you’d be cashing in right now.

Some people are making the most of the situation and taking advantage of productive, remote working situations, building more downtime into their schedules to spend with family and friends, visits to the beach and even time to cook more meals.

But a few blocks from your house or even just a few doors away, there are people struggling to stay positive. Summer is especially stressful. For parents, it brings the question of who will provide childcare if it’s even available, or how do I ensure my children are engaged if they’re not in a camp, summer school or community program? At the most basic level—”How do I keep my family from going hungry?” is being asked by one in five families, particularly while there’s no access to school meal programs.

The Health Care Agency of Orange County, published a study late last year that showed an 83% increase in the number of children facing food insecurity compared to 2018. USC Dornsife’s Public Exchange released a report around the same time last year about hunger in L.A., reinforcing how children experiencing hunger “are at a higher risk for cognitive problems, anxiety and depression.” Recently congress submitted an update to legislation called the Stop Child Hunger Act, with the intention of making summer food support permanent rather than a year-by-year consideration.

There IS something you can do, and not only will it improve your own mental health but will make an immediate impact and provide some stability to others. Your donation to Food Finders’ Summer To End Hunger drive ensures struggling kids and their families can eat, alleviating the stress of affording food so they can focus on other expenses and needs. Whether you’re collecting canned goods or cash, you’re supporting hundreds of nonprofits that in turn are serving thousands of families.

There’s an entire month of our drive remaining to continue addressing this immediate need – don’t go it alone. Enlist your tribe, your team, your ten or so friends or family members and make an even bigger impact!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Food Finders News

You’ve Got $1600 Right In Your Fridge!

About twenty or so years ago, when Food Network was first gaining traction, they featured a show called Door Knock Dinners, where the chef/host would “surprise” a family at random and demonstrate how to combine, for example, a head of cauliflower, two chicken breasts, basil that’s about to go bad and a cup of leftover beans in their fridge or pantry into a delicious meal. It was great inspiration for getting creative with ingredients on hand. It also, if indirectly, encouraged reducing food waste, which according to statistics is most prevalent at the consumer level.

Food Waste, even with smart fridges and grocery shopping apps at our disposal (pun intended), still remains an issue to the point that the USDA estimates each household throws out an average of $1600 worth of food per year. That’s at least another couple month’s-worth of groceries! Most people would like to think they are intentional shoppers, but even fastidious households or family cooks wind up with wilted lettuce or forgotten mashed potatoes at the back of their fridge at some point. In some cases, a good food storage set-up can make a world, and wallet-full, of difference, but there’s yet another challenge we face when it comes to reducing food waste.

Food labels and dates continue to be a bit of a consumer conundrum. We mostly use smell and taste tests at home, and when you see mold on your yogurt, probably best to toss it. But what do the best by, sell by, use by dates all mean? There’s no actual USDA federal regulation on any of it, but some states have their own standards in place. California passed a law that helps align with major food trade organizations in reducing confusion and offering consistent label definitions. One helpful resource is EatByDate, which provides guidelines of how long common perishable foods should last, and an alternate comprehensive list includes shelf-stable items.

So, while we’ve basically mastered how long our eggs, milk, and lunch are good for, there are always new products hitting the market that present a bit of a learning curve on shelf life, like meat-replacement patties, non-dairy milks, pressed juices, and others. A general rule of thumb for many of these is 3-5 days after opening, but that can vary.

The overall key in reducing food waste is careful planning, and in the best of circumstances, having a compost system in place to capture scraps so they get a second life.

As a food vendor, manufacturer, distributor, or producer, it’s important to know that donating food—whether edible but past it’s sell by or best by date, slightly damaged but still good, or purely an overproduction–is always an option. By January 2022, California businesses will need to address their food overages in order to comply with SB1383, which we’ll cover in another blog, so donating should be on everyone’s radar.

Meanwhile, Food Finders encourages you to share about our Food Rescue Program with friends, associates and business partners, so we can ensure that beyond the consumer level, everyone is doing their part to reduce food waste.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact


LGBTQ And Hunger: What You Should Know

In honor of Pride Month, Food Finders is shining a spotlight on some of the lesser-known facts about hunger and how it affects the LGBTQ community.

While hunger is often tied to homelessness, and a high population of people served by our partner agencies and pantries are homeless or unemployed, an oft-overlooked community that is reliant upon food banks, pantries and social services continues to be LGBTQ adults and teens. As indicated recently by Oregon Food Bank, more than a quarter of this community struggles with food insecurity. The reasons for this are tied directly to similar discriminatory acts faced by people of color.

Discrimination at places of work, within housing and education and even within the healthcare system has affected the levels of poverty that are perpetuated and growing within the transgender community in particular. Additionally, LGBTQ people of color have twice the rate of hunger as general BIPOC. A report issued in 2016 by the Williams Institute showed that The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) served nearly 1.37 million LGBTQ Americans several years ago, and we know that number has increased since. Worse, proposed cuts to the SNAP program further threaten food access for LGBTQ adults, although the country’s current administration is hoping to see increases in the federal funding for SNAP, but the proposals have not been approved.

Support systems are crucial, in the community and within families. In some families there is rampant unacceptance of LGBTQ members, particularly teens, and they are left to fend for themselves. While organizations like National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Network , the National LGBTQ Task Force and many others advocate for their communities regularly, there is still much progress to be made.

You can help! Food Finders urges everyone to take a few minutes to get involved and lend a voice on behalf of our LGBTQ friends and family. Start here to share your stories and messages of support.

As William Faulkner said, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty, truth, and compassion against injustice…If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.”

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Food Waste

Go Eco-Friendly: 5 Ideas For An Environmentally-Kind Holiday

As Memorial weekend approaches, many of us will perhaps be planning or attending our first major get-together of the year. Whether it’s a barbecue, beach bash, park picnic, or backyard fiesta, why not make it decidedly green by starting with one or all five tips. Waste not…party on!

Choose To Reuse your plates, cups, napkins, cutlery–it’s easy to find inexpensive plastic, glass and metal serving-ware for casual events that you can easily wash off and put away for the next celebration. A simple pie plate subs in for paper or Styrofoam, and the popular red Solo cups now come reusable and are totally affordable. So much better than filling up a trash bag or two and sending it to a landfill to languish for years.

Beverage Stations Are Best for reducing piles of plastic bottles, cans, or cups. A few large vessels filled with your favorites, like refreshing lemonade, soda or an adult beverage, make your gathering festive and earth-friendly. And they save you money, so why not?

Cook What You Need is a Food Finders favorite tip, so whatever doesn’t get opened or grilled—burgers, veggies, hot dogs—can be stored for later. Nobody wants food that’s sat out for a few hours, and sadly, those leftovers can’t be donated either. Use a portion guide to determine how much to prepare, and you won’t have to waste! And, if you do end up with extra frozen patties or unserved items, feel free to drop them off.

Consciously Decorate by getting creative with upcycled or multi-use articles. Find cool ways to repurpose items that you might already have on hand. Strings of lights are easy, along with chalkboards, wood pallets and cloth, like this DIY backyard movie screen—super simple!

BYOC, aka, bring your own containers! Just in case there are a few spare pounds of salad, or goodness forbid, the cookies don’t all get devoured, you can encourage guests to come prepared with their own carryout container. If you’re the lucky leftover recipient and need inspiration, there are plenty of great ways to use barbecue extras.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Food Finders News

Making The Most Impact With Your Charitable Giving

Ask just about any nonprofit what they need funding for most, and it would very likely be General Operating support. It’s sort of the ongoing push and pull with any development team within a nonprofit to find a balance where you can both please your constituents who donate and sustain your business, because a nonprofit is a business that still has the usual expenses as a for-profit—rents, salaries, utilities, IT costs—and those are also the least appealing expenses to many funders.

What is most appealing of course are the programs, usually whatever is tied to a nonprofit’s mission. In the case of Food Finders, it’s our food rescue program, which is our core effort, along with our sub-programs such as feeding kids, hosting food hubs and providing nutrition education. These direct extensions of our goal to eliminate hunger and food waste provide the positive outcomes that we are more than happy to share. It’s the reward that makes us all feel good about working for, volunteering at, and supporting the organization.

But how can a nonprofit sustain its programs if it can’t afford the rent or the program manager’s salary? Like we sometimes say, we can’t pay our electric bill with a case of donated bananas, so it takes a diverse stream of revenue to keep our programs going and growing.

And then there’s the other side of the matter, which is the ever-changing financial climate. Some years, interest levels and income plummet from investments, and nonprofits that prosper from robust contributions based on investment income are left scrambling to rethink their fundraising plans. Foundations that might have generously donated in years past may have to limit their grantmaking or individuals with previously thriving portfolios might rethink their charitable giving.

In 2020, the economic recession that nobody saw coming due to a pandemic left analysts predicting that a third of nonprofits would close. The actual outcome is still being determined, but while many nonprofits that focused on human services saw an increase of emergency support, others suffered setbacks as their programs were made less of a priority, particularly those in the arts or education. Of those that stayed open, a huge percentage were heavily burdened with increased demand.

So, what makes supporting nonprofits a Win-Win, for the donor and organization? Consider these options:

–Join a monthly giving program to spread your dollars across the year and allow them to be spent as needed, like The Share Table. You’ll still receive a charitable deduction come tax time.

–Set up a Donor Advised Fund, a tax benefit that can include cash, stock and other assets as designated.

–Designate funding as Unrestricted, so a nonprofit can spend the dollars prudently where they are most needed and fill in any gaps that program-directed funds don’t cover.

Corporate sponsorships are always welcome, along with employee giving campaigns, which benefit a company’s image and morale while showing the community some local support via the charity of choice.

Bottom line, it’s important is to know your dollars are wisely earned and spent, and transparency is key, which is why one of Food Finders’ core values is Integrity. For a good source on where to cast your philanthropic net, consider Charity Navigator, which provides current ratings and complete financial profiles of hundreds of nonprofits.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Food Donor Highlights

Green Is The Word

It’s not quite summer, but it’s 80 degrees in sunny So Cal, so what better time to highlight one of our newest food donors, Suja Juice?! One of the foremost organic, cold-pressed juice companies, Suja initially came to know Food Finders as part of their charitable giving initiative. Their goal—find an organization to benefit from what would have been their hospitality budget, because planned gatherings unfortunately went by the wayside last year. A bit of searching the interweb and they found what they were seeking, a credible, established organization that focused on hunger relief that served the local area. Shortly after, an unexpected, generous donation of $15,000 was sent to Food Finders just in time for the holidays!

But their giving didn’t end there.

Because they have a perishable product, they need to move and sell it promptly. However, occasionally they have overages. Again, they contacted Food Finders, knowing we could find a place for their juices so not a drop went to waste. What’s so great, and what many of our food donors already know, is that the California Health Code actually supports and encourages donations of food items to nonprofits, relieving donors of liability concerns. A couple of Food Finders’ partner agencies were quickly matched with the juice donation so it could be enjoyed by several hundred individuals and kept refrigerated as needed.

Donated items like organic juice align perfectly with our mission of providing nutritious food to those in need. And, it’s even more welcome on a warm day like today, when something healthy and cool hits the spot, but…what if you’re craving something a little more substantial?

We’ve got just the thing, and we think you’ll love it. For those of you not familiar, gazpacho is a Spanish soup, enjoyed cold or room temp, that is nutritious, filling, and super simple to make. This recipe uses Suja’s Uber Greens, sold at many major grocers, but you could just as easily use one of their other green juices.

Easy Gazpacho Soup
  • 1 10 oz. bottle of Suja Uber Greens Juice
  • 1-1/2 lbs. (3-4 large) ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped (juicier the better!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2-3 slices of day-old bread (white/sourdough is perfect)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (could also use avocado oil)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp. of sherry vinegar (can swap out for 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar)
  • Basil, torn or chopped, for garnish


Place chopped tomatoes and bread torn in pieces into a glass dish or bowl, sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil, then let sit for about 30 minutes.

Put green juice, bell pepper, garlic, onions, and vinegar in blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Once the tomato mixture is done marinating, add all into blender. Puree. Pour through strainer for smooth soup, otherwise serve as is. Top with chopped basil and add some croutons or toasted cubes of bread as garnish, if desired.

If you like it a little spicy, add cayenne, a few dashes of pepper sauce (like Tabasco or Tapatio) or fresh chopped jalapeno to taste.

There’s no limit to what we can do with leftover or extra ingredients, like bread, a spare pepper or that extra bounty of tomatoes weighing down your tomato bush. We love being green and ending food waste, and soup is a great way to make sure to eat well while keeping your fridge tidy.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the surplus food on hand, so if you know someone with a backyard garden, fruit tree, or business with surplus food they’d like to donate, let us know!

We wouldn’t be where we are without our generous food donors, and we’re always welcoming more each week, like Suja Juice, who have their hearts and minds in the right place. We look forward to a long, healthy partnership-thank you!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Food Finders News

A Steady Stream Will Fill The Gaps

In the nonprofit world, one of the primary challenges seems to be how to sustain an organization’s programs, which ultimately means the resources and revenue stream that fuels them. Some nonprofits serve strictly local areas, some national and others are global in reach, and their budgets flex according to need, economic climate, and growth. Certainly, it’s essential to find your niche as a nonprofit, have a clear mission and then do what you say you’re going to do, and being good stewards of income is essential, especially to retain donors.

Foundations and corporations are two wonderful revenue sources, and most have a specific interest or philanthropical focus–education, arts, racial justice, health and well-being or food security, to name a few–while some support more than one area. Sometimes corporations will match donations, resulting in an even larger financial impact as they support individual employees’ diverse charitable interests.

While grants and corporate funding are wonderful sources of revenue, it tends to ebb and flow depending on fiscal cycles, investment income, stakeholder preferences and imminent need, such as with Covid-19. Likewise, some nonprofits have cyclical, short-term projects or capital campaigns that solicit one-time or large donations. More commonly, nonprofits have ongoing programs that require year-round support, so recurring donations are vital.

Food Finders operates several ongoing programs, with its Food Rescue Program being core to its mission. In 32 years, that program has grown from a kitchen table effort to a multi-regional operation that wouldn’t be possible without a diverse stream of income. However, as most people know, the program runs daily, not just during holidays, school days or summer. So, not quite ten years ago we launched an individual monthly giving program to ensure those being served would be able to eat at the end of February or March, like when their paycheck ran out, just as well as during Thanksgiving. Hunger doesn’t take a holiday.

Recently, we rebranded our monthly giving program to The Share Table. This new name and brand embodies one of our core values, Community, inviting people to participate in a way that is meaningful and that embraces a shared passion and commitment to giving that in turn allows Food Finders to carry on our mission of reducing hunger efficiently and effectively. A Share Table membership comes with some added perks as well, which includes recognition on our website, and soon, in our office foyer!

Andrew Maxwell is one of our latest members and a special needs teacher with LAUSD who started volunteering at Food Finders last year during the pandemic. With class instruction being online, he had some extra time on his hands to donate. He shared, “I saw through the school how meals were essential for the students and how much hunger was an issue, so I chose Food Finders because of their mission. I like what you do, and I like that there are multiple ways to volunteer.”  Now that students and staff are returning to campus, The Share Table was a perfect way for Andrew to continue giving back monetarily when he couldn’t give his time.

We encourage others who want to become involved as Andrew did, to give monthly as well. When you sign up, it’s automatic, environmentally friendly, and convenient–you don’t have to remember each month to write a check and find a stamp or to go online. Your gift is deeply appreciated. And if your employer does match, even better! Then after you sign up, share about it with a friend.

For questions about The Share Table, contact Veronica, vtashakor@foodfinders.org.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Volunteer Highlights

Volunteering: The Essence of Life

Aristotle, a man who literally wrote the book on Ethics, was spot on when he said, “What is the essence of life? To serve others and do good.” This past year many people embraced that concept, given that it also meant distracting themselves from the side effects of a global pandemic.

Volunteering is in fact the way I was introduced to Food Finders more than 11 years ago. What attracted me initially was the mission of not wasting food, a practice ingrained in me as a child of depression-era parents. For you, it could be the reward of seeing the gratefulness of people who are given access to nutritious food, or the ease and proximity that a volunteer opportunity with Food Finders offers. For Tina Freeman, it was all of those. She told us, “I really love volunteering for Food Finders. My role is simple, I collect the food that would otherwise be wasted and deliver it to very grateful organizations that support the heart of our communities. I find it incredibly meaningful to be part of this effort that helps feed families while also working to protect the environment.”

We have more than 300 volunteers that regularly donate their time– as a Hunger Hero that rescues and delivers food, a warehouse helper or an office angel, along with board members who help oversee the company growth and business strategy.

While many volunteers find us via VolunteerMatch, a good handful or more are referred by relatives and friends who have shared the happy stories and goodwill they experience. Some are corporate groups getting a little fresh air away from their desks. Kids are often encouraged by their schools to fill community service hours, and parents and grandparents like to demonstrate to their kids the importance of giving back. Food Finders has seen multiple generations of volunteers over the years, and it’s such a wonderful way to build our community of passionate, dedicated team members. We call volunteers the backbone of our organization, and truly we’d never be able to grow the way we have without them. Most certainly, volunteering makes for well-balanced lives.

Our volunteer coordinator Sylvia Rosas is an expert at providing orientation and support to candidates young and old, and our new Food Finders app makes it even easier and convenient. She shared, “Volunteers love the simplicity of the app and how easy it is to fit a food rescue into their schedule, whether its weekly or just whenever they have time to hop on the app and claim a rescue.” Recently, she’s been recruiting folks who live or work in Torrance, San Pedro, Burbank, Glendale, Santa Monica, and Hollywood, where new food donors and agencies are joining our program. Helping in our warehouse to sort and package family food boxes is always rewarding, and as gatherings become safe, we are encouraging small groups to sign up.

Volunteering is often an ideal opportunity to test drive an organization before potentially taking on a paying job, and it’s a smart way to enhance a resume. If you or someone you know is interested in Food Finders opportunities, start here, and learn more.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Diego holding Bananas at Worldwide ProduceFood Donor Highlights

Yes, We Have Some Bananas!

Each weekday at midnight when most of the city is already asleep, delivery specialist Hector arrives at the dock of Worldwide Produce in an industrial section of Los Angeles, where he starts his workday loading up his truck before heading out to make his deliveries to vendors up and down the coast. In a typical day, he’ll deliver produce and other specialty items to a dozen or more restaurants and other businesses. Today he loads strawberries, lettuce, onions, milk and more.

Worldwide Produce (WWP) is one of several area distributors of produce, dairy products, and specialty foods to local restaurants and chain business, Country Clubs, school programs, theme parks and more, all the way from Fresno to the Mexican border. You may have seen one of their more than 100 trucks traveling the local roads and freeways. But while Hector and the rest of his team is out delivering, back at the warehouse are the pallets that make up the undistributed inventory—items purchased from suppliers but not delivered because a vendor reduced their order that week or the anticipated need just wasn’t there.

Enter Food Finders!

Food Finders receives donations 4 days a week from Worldwide Produce as part of an ongoing partnership formed in 2014. Pallets of mixed produce are delivered to a large nonprofit nearby that serves upwards of 1,000 people weekly, many of whom are unemployed or struggle to make ends meet. Some are seniors on low-income, single moms with kids, or disabled veterans with multiple expenses and limited resources.

As part of our food rescue program, we redistribute upwards of 6 million or more pounds of fresh apples, broccoli, beans, onions, strawberries, squash, melons, peppers—basically the rainbow of fruits and veggies–each year. In fact, more than 50% of the donated food we receive is fresh produce from the L.A. produce mart and other vendors, all perfectly edible overages donated to make room for new orders arriving in the next day or two.

Jane Cowan, head of marketing at WWP, shared about the partnership saying, ’Our team has seen the ups and downs of the economy, industry, and marketplace but has always made a point to give back. Not only does it help the community, but it reduces our waste, disposal costs, and labor and helps with storage needs within the warehouse. We always enjoy seeing the Food Finders truck pull up, as we know our unsold food will be reaching the food insecure population within a matter of hours!”

Food Finders is fortunate to be partnered with generous companies that are doing the right thing by donating rather than tossing out edible food. Produce is highly desirable because of its nutritional value—but it also makes up a large amount of what we as consumers waste each year as well. Which is why Food Finders hopes to resume its Healthy Choices Ahead program soon, a program that provides education around nutrition, cooking, food storage and waste reduction, and general budgeting. We’re not only a resource in the supply channel but for the consumer, too! Get more details on how you can donate food, today.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Women in Action Reaching Out Drive UpPartner Agency Highlights

Coronada King Haywood – Women in Action Reaching Out

To honor Women’s History Month, we need look no further than our own backyard, because some of the most inspiring women live among us. Today, we introduce to you Coronada King Haywood.

If you’ve traveled within the circle of Long Beach nonprofits or had the pleasure of attending any number of Long Beach award events, you may recognize her. She has spent a large part of her life making Long Beach and beyond a better place for countless people.

Before delving into her recent contributions, you should know her backstory. Coronada started her work life as a daycare helper. Her warmth and caring were an immediate draw for children, and recognizing this, her boss suggested she get a credential—just 12 units—so she could be part of the teaching staff. With her own small children to raise it would be a juggling act, but undaunted, she managed to attend classes while her kids sat quietly at the back of the lecture hall, with the permission of her professors. She swiftly completed her units and was hired! She then worked her way through a degree, first attending Cal State Dominguez, then graduating from CSULB on scholarship funds. But it wasn’t easy. “I was going through a divorce, raising kids…I just wanted to do what was best for them, ultimately,” she said. She eventually went on the teach at the Head Start program in Lynwood. Her teaching career spanned 44 years.

In 2007, she started a nonprofit organization, fueled by the grief of losing her son, an innocent victim of street violence. Her plan—to help others through similar grief. But that evolved to helping feed children, and later, feeding adults in need. By 2013 when Food Finders began assisting her organization, she had expanded her outreach even further and in 2014 officially took over Women in Action Reaching Out.

Today she employs 8 staff and serves the residents at Carmelitos Housing in North Long Beach, along with a Boys and Girls Club, nonprofit His Nesting Place, which serves families in need, and several other local park sites. Her programs include a daily grab-and-go lunch, a weekly food distribution for seniors, and providing donated clothes and hygiene items as available.

When asked what the most rewarding part about her role as CEO of Women in Action Reaching Out, she didn’t hesitate to respond.

“Being able to continue helping throughout the pandemic has been so important. My passion is ensuring that nobody goes hungry. We’ve followed all proper protocols, made sure nobody was gathering in the community rooms, and we kept our program running the whole time.”

Food Finders provides donations through local Ralph’s stores, and her recipients are so grateful for the food. “We value our partnership so much. Food Finders was the first place to help us with our food program,” she shared.

Not only has her program endured, but so has Coronada, with the recent loss of her husband still weighing heavy on her heart. “I had to get out of the house, it was getting so hard. My son encouraged me to go be involved, even if it was just an hour or two a day. It helps.”

Like everyone, Coronada looks forward to resuming normal get togethers so they can have people in group settings enjoying the meals their program provides. “We want to be that shining light, for both physical and mental well-being.”

You are the shining light, Coronada! Happy Women’s History Month, and thank you for your perseverance and dedication and for being a role model and amazing example of community spirit.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Individual Spotlight

Black Leaders in Food Justice

To cap off Black History Month, we’ve highlighted below a few significant contributions by community advocates who have made a difference in the way we approach hunger and food justice, both historically and currently.

George Washington Carver is perhaps one of the most honored figures in the black American landscape for his food contributions, specifically the peanut. What many people don’t know about him is that he had a master’s degree in Scientific Agriculture. Born into slavery, he often skirted chores as a child to study plants and eventually found his passion in food and cooking. He obtained a college education as the first black student at Iowa State University, and after joining the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama as the director of agriculture, he made significant strides in helping farmers to efficiently grown crops, best utilize their harvest, and even published bulletins and recipes to distribute to farmers. He was one of the earliest proponents of sustainable agriculture and “conscious eating”. His research made a huge impact on soil fertility and waste reduction in addition to general farming practices.

Dr. Rashida Crutchfield is an associate professor at CSULB, where she initiated a study of student homelessness and hunger. What started as a local concern became a national study, and her passion to lend a voice to those who were displaced and food insecure helped initiate the Office of the Chancellor’s 3-phase study on basic needs, setting a precedent for making student food insecurity and homelessness among students a health priority. She’s since become a respected authority and advocate in this arena, and her findings and strategies to address these issues were published in 2019 as a book.

Ron Finley is a community contributor in downtown L.A., often referred to as the Guerrilla Gardener. Since 2010 he has been actively growing fresh produce for his local neighborhood using abandoned strips of land or parkways. These areas of South Central, often labeled as food deserts, have limited or nonexistent access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The “food prisons” as Finley calls them, impact the health of residents, each of whom deserves equal access to nutritious foods. To tackle this issue, he not only shares his harvest but teaches gardening and the importance of good food and provides a place for residents to gather and form tighter community bonds.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Food Finders van in front of food donor

A Day In the Life of Food Finders

What happens when a grocery store has 5 cases of produce, a day’s leftover bread from the bakery, and a pallet of coffee, all past their sell dates? Or when a restaurant finds they must offload their perishable goods prior to shutting down their business? Although food waste has finally leveled off, many businesses still find themselves with excess, edible food.

Food Finders continually answers the calls of restaurants, grocers and others who find themselves in need of a resource to donate food rather than carelessly and irresponsibly tossing it in the trash. At first glance, the solution may seem simple—send a driver over to pick up the food—problem solved!

But food rescue and recovery is a little more involved than that. A typical food bank may accept donations dropped at their door. Food Finders takes it a few steps further. All new donation requests are funneled through Chris Wong, Food Donor Acquisitions Manager, and are first qualified. How much food is it? What type? How is it packed, stored, contained? Will there be a loading area for pick up? Once some of the basics are determined, Chris can assign a staff driver to large donations, or volunteers are connected who can manage smaller donations.

That food does not find its way back to Food Finders’ warehouse. Instead, it’s delivered immediately within a close distance. The community benefits from its local donors, and the donor feels good about helping the local community. They can also receive a tax write-off.

The request gets relayed from Acquisitions to the Agency Coordination staff who are responsible for matching the donation to a partner recipient agency. No refrigeration on-site? Then you must have a program that distributes immediately or same-day. Each agency is vetted to determine if they can accept the food based on their location, volume of need and type of food requested, and program schedule.

From there, volunteers or staff drivers are set to pick up. Some donations occur weekly or daily. Others are occasional. The Food Finders app is downloadable, and volunteers are encouraged to use this app to remotely access available food donations. The app will indicate approximately how much food is available, the location of the donor, who to contact, and where the food is assigned for distribution. Maps with directions are provided along with any special instructions.

This process happens hundreds of times weekly.

Sounds like a well-oiled machine? It is!  And after 32 years of running its food rescue program, Food Finders is still finding ways to streamline the process. Plus, we are always adding to our network of donors and volunteer base. If you’d like to make a donation or want to share about or get involved in our program, see www.foodfinders.org. We’d love to have your join us in reducing hunger and food waste!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Volunteer Rick Guilfoile Blog Featured ImageVolunteer Highlights

Meet Volunteer Rick Guilfoile

Rick is a local elementary school teacher who recently got involved with Food Finders after a friend recommended us as a way to help the community. Since Rick is off work for summer, it seemed like an opportune time to start.

Rick helps do food rescues about 3 to 4 times a week using the Food Finders app, which lets him know where the pick-up location is and where the delivery location is, along with a map that is linked to GPS so it’s easy to find the locations. If issues pop up, he knows our staff are available to troubleshoot, so the whole process is simple and streamlined.

Food pick-ups vary in type and size–sometimes it could be a small amount, like from a bakery or coffee shop and other times it might be multiple boxes of items from grocery stores. Rick shared, “The first time I picked up a bag of pastry items, I was thinking that it would be disappointing to the recipients to get ‘just’ one bag of food. But, the gratitude and thankfulness that they showed was humbling. I realized that I didn’t have to worry about my next meal and that I really haven’t gone ‘hungry’ in …. well, maybe never. On the other hand, a lot of people are hungry. And they are right in front of me.”

Since helping out with Food Finders, Rick has learned that personal awareness of individual’s food waste will make a big difference in the overall issue in our landfills, and that it really takes multiple sources, like food banks, community centers, and groups like Food Finders to get excess food to needy people in our communities.

He sees the value in volunteering, saying, “Even with a limited amount of free time, you can do something to help others. Sure, you can donate money to charities, but you also can give your time, which is even more rewarding. The pandemic is having a dire effect on basic needs, including food. Let’s all do what we can to make our society a more equitable and livable one, now more than ever.”

Thanks, Rick, for being one of many dedicated Food Heroes that have stepped up during this uncertain, challenging time to help out. We appreciate you and all of our volunteers who are making sure Food Finders can continue our much-needed program.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Young Boy Holding Donations With his Mask OnEvents

Summer To End hunger Is Here

Over 22 million children in schools nationwide rely on both breakfast and lunch programs to get their everyday meals. However, because school is not in session, only 4 million children receive these same food programs over the summer. These children then go hungry during summer as their parents struggle to balance earning wages and putting food on the table.

In June, we kicked off our annual Summer To End Hunger food drive, an event aimed at supporting those children by being a resource for healthy food. Throughout the summer we distribute blue collection bins to local businesses around the community so people can donate food items that we will distribute to children and their families via numerous nonprofit agencies in the community. Last year we were able to provide 237 boxes of food to families with children in need.

This year we need your help more than ever as demand has skyrocketed due to recent economic impacts. Anyone can participate in the food drive — organizations, groups, clubs, neighborhoods and individuals can also help by holding their own drives — collecting items from the recommended list.

In addition, you can help by volunteering to pack the food into family boxes that get distributed by filling out our volunteer application located here.

Food Finders has a goal to distribute 1500 boxes by the end of August, so please contact our partner agency coordinator, Veronica, via email at vtashakor@foodfinders.org or phone number (562 283 1400 x107) to get involved. Let’s work together in making this Summer a healthy season for all!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Helpful Honda Team Making Family BoxesVolunteer Highlights

We Spent a Day with the Helpful Honda Team

The SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Honda Team were in the wareHOUSE! Right now, thousands of families across SoCal are struggling to put a meal on the table and feed their loved ones. So, the Helpful Honda Team and Food Finders joined forces this past Wednesday to sort and pack family meal boxes, and thanks to their help, 165 family boxes were sent to our partner agencies that assist food-insecure families around SoCal.

We interviewed their group leader, Zuli, about the team’s purpose and what they hope to accomplish. “Our sole mission is to be helpful to the community,” Zuli said, “… and what I enjoy most about the Helpful Honda Team is that we are always helping them in whatever way we can, wherever we can.”

Thank you, Helpful Honda Team, including Zuli, Gabby, Carolina, and Christian, for helping us achieve our mission to reduce hunger. You guys are amazing and truly do walk the walk.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact