One in seven Americans are food insecure. Let that sink in for a moment.
The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access to enough food for all household members. Ironically, each year, the Unites States throws away 40% of its food supply – a number that could potentially feed 36.5 million people three meals every day of the year. As a hotel that hosts up to over 1,000 banquet events annually, we have an incredible opportunity to impact our community’s hunger and food waste issue. While we strive to produce only what is needed, inevitably, there are always items that are not consumed.
In January 2019, Fontainebleau proudly began partnering with Food Rescue US, an organization that facilitates the transfer of excess fresh food from different industry sources that would have otherwise been discarded to families via an online app. The protocol is as follows. Once Fontainebleau’s Chefs have identified an opportunity for donation after an event, they can easily schedule a pick-up via the Food Rescue US app. Once the pick-up request has been entered, a list of volunteers known as ‘food rescuers’ can claim the pick-up based on their availability. After the pick-up has been claimed by a volunteer, they simply arrive to the hotel at the designated time and meet our Chefs who help load aluminum pans of food into their vehicle. After the food has been collected, the volunteer will then transport the food to a number of local organizations such as the Lotus House Shelter, a shelter dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women, youth and children and the Miami Rescue Mission, a center for ministry to the homeless in South Florida.
“We are incredibly honored for the opportunity to give back to our community and help minimize food waste,” says Thomas Connell, Vice President of Culinary Operations at Fontainebleau. “The Food Rescue US app makes it easy for us to execute and we are grateful to the volunteers who help make this program possible. As food and beverage professionals, it is not only our duty to serve exceptional food to our guests, but to ensure that food is respected – reducing waste and feeding the hungry is part of that responsibility.” Since the program’s inception, Fontainebleau has initiated over 15 pick-ups, totaling approximately 1,200 pans of food to date.
“Donations from Fontainebleau have made a huge difference in the lives of the men, women and children living in the shelters we deliver to,” says Ellen Bowen, Miami Site Director for Food Rescue US. “The quality of the food, much of it more nutritious than what has been usually served, has given a sense of respect and dignity to those receiving the donations. We are proud to be partners as together we can feed people and not landfills.”
For more information on how to get involved with Food Rescue US, visit: https://foodrescue.us/