WINTER NEWSLETTER: Retail Rescue – Reducing Food Waste and Feeding More People

The fact is: Food should not be wasted when hungry people are in our midst.

With this premise in mind, the Food Bank created the Retail Rescue program. This food distribution program connects agencies with local retailers, such as restaurants and supermarkets, who have a surplus of food that can now be donated to the agencies instead of being thrown out.

The successful program has matched 30 member agencies with 75 retailers and has rescued more than 1.5 million pounds of food from becoming waste. The program has a profound impact on both the retailer and agency.

The Retailer Perspective:
Zallie’s ShopRite Supermarkets of South Jersey

Committed to being active members of their local communities, Zallie’s ShopRite has been involved in the Retail Rescue program from the beginning. At least once a week, an agency picks up food from six of Zallie’s locations.

“This program gave us an efficient way to share our resources, significantly cut down on our food waste and give back to our local community,” said Giuliana Zallie, marketing director. “We are able
to box up produce, canned goods, bread and product that didn’t sell and donate it to people who truly need it.”

The Agency Perspective:
The Community Care Food & Clothing Pantry

When the Community Care Food & Clothing Pantry first heard about the Retail Rescue program, they were apprehensive to join. They were worried about the amount of work and volunteers it would take to do the frequent pickups, but their increasing clientele prompted them to try out the program in order to meet their growing needs.

Today, the Pantry has weekly pickups with four local retailers and supplemental pickups from others. “We were amazed with how seamless the program runs, and the quality of donations we received,” said Mario Partee, executive director. “This program has been a very good fit for us. It has been great to see how the Food Bank of South Jersey and the agencies work together to ensure a pickup is never missed.”

Retail Rescue has helped the pantry keep their weekly Tuesday Produce program going for the past two years – something they would not have been able to sustain without it. “Our Tuesday Produce program helps us offer nutritious food along with recipe suggestions to 50 families,” said Mario.

Through their participation in Retail Rescue, the Pantry has also fostered partnerships with their local retailers. “We have been able to get our foot in the door at local businesses because of our pickups,” said Mario. “As a result, we’ve had businesses come in to volunteer and donate clothing items and pet food. When we joined this program, we never expected such successful outcomes. I think any pantry should give the Retail Rescue program a try because you never know what will end up coming out of it.”

See the full 2019 Winter Newsletter below.