Volunteer Bread Run

Posted on July 18, 2013. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , , , |

Philosophy - Bread Run 1     Philosophy - Bread Run 2

My husband and I are part of a volunteer network to save baked goods from the landfill to help people who need food.  We are cogs in a big wheel that begins at our church where a van was donated and dedicated to this ministry.  The congregation fuels, maintains, houses the van and organizes the volunteer network.  We show up one day a month to drive a route to mostly suburban food outlets where we pick up soon-to-be-outdated baked goods.  We deliver to an inner city church that continues the flow.

This morning this cartload was waiting for us at one of our stops.  We enter the back of the stores where we find our dedicated offerings.  We box the lot and haul it to the truck.  It is great that the stores hold these items until we can pick them up, but they have little patience with us if we are late.  Sometimes we have missed them dumping the lot into the dumpster by minutes.  We have tried to explain that we will be coming if it is scheduled unless there is dangerous driving weather in winter, so please, just hold it for us!  I think once it’s been scanned and entered as a loss in their system they don’t really care that much if it goes to food pantries or the dumpster.  Sometimes it is more important to get it out of the way for incoming shipments.  This is true of some, not all of the stores.  Some managers really value the good these leftovers can do for the poor people just a few miles away.

We have noticed some trends since the economy sunk.  The stores which we visit, across the board, are making less.  I wonder if it has become more expensive to have a lot of extra, in materials and manpower, as much of this is baked on the premises.  I don’t know if this is good or bad.  I’ve heard of some places in the central city that have too much leftover bread and it still goes to waste, then.  It is disconcerting to look at food waste statistics for the U.S. especially considering these items from stores go into the dumpster in their bags and plastic boxes, all mixed together.  No one spends the time to separate the plastic containers from the food.

A part of me aches to think of all the compost that could be made from the food waste that comes out of grocery stores.  We only pick up the baked goods that don’t need refrigeration because this limits liability of the store donating it.  The refrigerated food that becomes outdated is simply dumped.  Also, for the most part, anything that is a name brand gets reclaimed by the distributor.  I don’t know what happens to that.  I hope it then goes to a mass food bank distribution system, but I wonder if it just gets dumped also.

Philosophy - Bread Run 4      Philosophy - Bread Run 3

At least for today, these boxes were saved and will be put to good use.  Karen here at the drop-off point for us was really glad to receive this lot.  From here there is another distribution system with everything from sending some to nursing facilities to food pantries to making sandwiches to distribute to gang members on the street to try to win their trust.  We pray it does some good in the lives of hurting people.  We hope it makes a dent in the amount of waste that goes into the landfill every day.

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4 Responses to “Volunteer Bread Run”

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What a wonderful thing to do!! The world needs more people with your compassion. Celeste 🙂

Ha! Celeste! We are just cogs in the wheel, but thank you!

A wheel can turn without cogs!

You’re right. We are happy to be a part of this grand scheme.

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