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

Directions:

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!

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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.

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Support Food Finders and Give #MoreThanJustFood

Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.