Once a month I join a group of gleaners who collect food from a Trader Joe’s. This is food that is in damaged packaging or too near its expiration date for the store to keep on its shelves
We take this food back to a suburban garage and sort it into boxes. Later, these boxes will be distributed by a group that provides showers and laundry to our friends who live on the street.
The work is rewarding and if even if you are not able to address the systemic issues of hunger, it feels good to help fill an immediate need. And the need is great.
In America 1 out of every 6 people face food insecurity. Houses with children face this at a slightly higher rate than houses without.
To hear that a Trader Joe’s donated 35,000 pounds of food to a Gospel Mission Society is enough to make one jump for joy. And I’m sure many of their residents are jumping for joy.
The Trader Joe’s refrigeration system went down and the grocery store was faced with the possibility of losing its inventory. The Kalamazoo, Michigan, Gospel Mission Society says the food donation won’t just fill a need for food but also for hope.
“They called us and we were able to mobilize a team within an hour that consisted of staff and volunteers,” Greg Weaver, Director of Food Service at the mission said.
The mission society said the following on their facebook page:
“We are so sorry to hear that Trader Joe’s #708 refrigeration system went down yesterday, but we are so thankful that in the midst of their crisis Trader Joe’s chose to donate thousands of pounds of food to us.
“We are so thankful for the support we have in our community to help feed and provide for the homeless of Kalamazoo.”
Trader Joe’s believes this is just a part of their mission. As I said in my opening, it is not uncommon for them to donate food.
“Everything that we deem is able to be consumed safely we donate to our neighbors and we’re really happy to participate in helping the community in that way,” Trader Joe’s Store Captain Daniel Sorscher said.
Not only does donating food allow them to help the community, it helps them clear excess inventory from their shelves.
The Mission Society offers 600 meals a day. Weaver says 95% of their food comes from donations.
The Mission Society was able to stock their shelves and were able to donate 4,000 pounds to 12 Baskets, another food pantry. “Pay it forward,” as the old saying goes.
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