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Fresno’s New Food Sharing Program

Food to Share is a community food partnership created by Fresno Metro Ministry that works to fight against food insecurity and environmental issues. The project was inspired by the Fresno State Food Recovery Network model where students volunteer to recover surplus, edible food that would otherwise go to waste and donate it to people in need in their community. More than 64,000 people in Fresno have empty refrigerators every month. Eighty percent of them do not have enough meat, bread, fruits, or vegetables. Seventy-one percent have small children and not enough milk. Among Fresno County residents 16.6 percent of the population have food insecurity, not knowing how they will get their next meal. Twenty-six million pounds of food is needed in Fresno County this year to feed people in need, and up to forty percent of food that is grown, processed, and transported in the U.S. is wasted. Food to Share is working to create and maintain a food system network that will help with these problems.
 
In the past four months, Food to Share has distributed nearly 180,000 pounds of recovered food to neighborhoods in need, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 396,000 pounds. This food reaches disadvantaged communities through Food to Share’s distribution events with the help of financing from the Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Farm to Table initiative.

How Food to Share Works

Food to Share has three main goals: to address hunger, reduce waste, and generate energy. They start by collecting extra food from farmer’s markets, food service facilities, restaurants, supermarkets, food distributors, hospitals, institutional cafeterias, growers and packers, gleanings, and food institutions. Once they have collected the food, they share it with churches, food kitchens, pantries, neighborhood schools, and distribution centers. These organizations then get the food out to the community in need.
 
Food to Share is collaborating with Colony Energy Partners and Caglia Environmental to encourage the diversion of significant amounts of inedible food, green, and agricultural waste away from landfills. An anaeorbic digester is being built in Tulare County to turn the organic waste into low carbon renewable energy. This will make significant contributions to the improvement of the air quality in the region.
food to share process

How You Can Help

There are a lot of ways you can get involved and help with Food to Share.

  • Become a Volunteer

Help Food to Share provide nutritional food to communities in need in the Fresno County. The Glean Team is in need of volunteers and trees to be gleaned. If you have fruit trees or a vegetable garden that produces more produce than your family can consume, then consider offering your trees and garden to gleaned. You can also volunteer by going out with a team and gleaning others trees and gardens. Volunteers are also needed for transportation and distributing food.

  • Become a Food Donor

If you are a business that has a surplus of food or produce then post it to the secure network food exchange website, and be assured that your food will go to someone in need. All donations are tax deductible because they are going to disadvantaged communities.

  • Become a Food Receiver Organization

If you are a non-profit organization that has a food program to feed those in need, you can claim and pick up food donations to expand your food program.

About Kate Harris

Kate grew up in Santa Rosa, California and attended school at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where she studied Media Communications with an emphasis in Film Studies. She enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and running. She currently lives in Fresno with her husband and is the content writer for WorldLight Media.

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