Davenport food bank helps save food from waste

Davenport food bank helps save food from waste

This Earth Day, the Iowa Food Bank Association announced that over 27.16 million pounds of food were rescued from landfills in 2023 by the six Feeding America member food banks serving Iowa. As one of those members, Davenport-based River Bend Food Bank and its partners contributed to this number.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), up to 40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted every year, according to an association release Monday. Food banks rely on retail rescue to meet the growing and record need for food assistance. In fact, preventing wholesome food from going to the landfill is the very reason food banking began.

By working with grocery and convenience stores, manufacturers, growers and restaurants, IFBA food banks are able to supplement their inventories, keep pantry shelves stocked, and bring food waste down to as low as 3%, the release said.

“Food rescue is a primary function of food banks,” said Linda Gorkow, executive director, Iowa Food Bank Association. “Food banks rescue perfectly good packaged and uncooked food that is safe to eat and use it to help feed those in our communities who do not have enough food.”

Food banks adhere to strict food handling, temperature and storage guidelines to ensure the food they distribute is safe. The food they rescue may be mislabeled, close-dated or needs to be repackaged in some way. Fresh produce may not be the perfect size or shape, Or a donor may simply have a surplus. Food banks make sure good food that might otherwise be discarded instead goes to neighbors facing hunger.

Chris Ford, chief operating officer of River Bend Food Bank.
Chris Ford, chief operating officer of River Bend Food Bank.

“As part of the Iowa Food Bank Association, we collaborate across the state to recover food and help the environment,” Chris Ford, chief operating officer for River Bend Food Bank, said in the release. “By getting this food to communities facing hunger, we also prevent millions of pounds from clogging landfills and help mitigate climate change. Our commitment to sustainability will only grow as we strive to meet record demand for food assistance.”

“Advocacy is also a big part of what we do at the Iowa Food Bank Association, and our member food banks are working to help their communities understand food dates,” said Gorkow. “For example, a best-by or use-by date on food isn’t an indication of safety but rather optimal quality. Yet, many people see that date and will needlessly throw away good food.”

The Iowa Food Bank Association supports six Feeding America food banks that serve Iowa to ensure sufficient food is accessible to all. Formed in 2009, the Iowa Food Bank Association was created as a way to foster collaboration and make hunger relief more effective and efficient within the state of Iowa.

To learn more about food rescue and how you can help prevent waste, contact your local food bank HERE, or the state association HERE.

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