Patch recently accompanied Community Plates "food run" volunteer, Alison Sherman, on a food rescue mission in Norwalk.
"It's a great program," said Peggy Frank, who had leftover loaves of bread for pickup. "We don't like to see our bread go to waste."
Sherman arrived at 4:30pm on the dot. "It's important that we're punctual and reliable," Sherman said. "When a person signs up for a run online, there are explicit instructions like drive around back and park by the brick wall and ring the bell. Sometimes a seasoned runner will accompany a new runner."
Sherman described Community Plates as a grassroots non-profit with a simple method. "We're about community helping community. Neighbor helping neighbor," she said.
Explaining that food rescue through Community Plates has been such a success in Fairfield County that the operation has expanded to three other cities: Albequerque, NM; Columbus, OH and New Haven, here in Connecticut, for a total of four sites.
We're very reliable, accountable and we show up when we say we will," said Sherman. "We've found that restaurants and food professionals don't like to waste food. Nobody says no. They tell us that they like the idea of donating within their communities."
Community Plates has created, “GoRescue,” a technology that makes it possible for volunteers to sign up for a food rescue run online. Runners pick up excess fresh foods from restaurants and grocers and deliver it directly to partner agencies that serve hungry individuals.
There are no warehouses and no expensive overhead. In fact, oftentimes, rescued food arrives on a hungry person's table within a half hour.
Since 2011, Community Plates has rescued the food equivalent to 2 million meals at a value of nearly $4 million. Their goal for the 2013-2014 food rescue season is to deliver 3 million meals to hungry individuals across an expanding marketplace.
Food run volunteers hail from Wilton and as far north afield as Weston, Shelton, and Trumbull. Through GoRescue, donors are paired with receiving agencies.