ORANGE PARK, Fla. – This month’s Positively Jax winner is feeding the masses. Do you ever wonder where near-expired food or bags of produce with slight imperfections goes when they can’t be sold?
The non-profit Waste Not Want Not makes sure some of it doesn’t just land in the trash but instead in the hands of people in need.
Volunteers head to Trader Joe’s daily to pick up food. Former volunteer, Sandra Staudt Killea, is now the executive director of Waste Not Want Not. She’s a retired attorney who now rescues food.
“We get everything from produce bakery, breads, pizza, dough, cheese, milk, eggs, you name it,” said Staudt Killea
The organization started in 1990 with a simple ask to a local supermarket to donate short-dated food to help supply a Jacksonville soup kitchen.
“We have convinced the stores and the restaurants to donate to us, instead of dumping,” said Staudt-Killea.
Since then it’s rescued and shared more than 27 and half million pounds of food.
“We have about 300 volunteers and we are open every single day of the year. So we definitely need as many volunteers as we have, and maybe even more,” said Staudt-Killea.
Volunteers like Mary Cobb who started in 1991 and is the longest-serving volunteer.
“It’s a reason to get going. I mean. I’m in my 70s. So I have my various and sundry aches and pains. But Friday mornings, I’m here, and I’m glad to be here,” said Cobb.
You can’t have this much food without a lot of organization. So volunteers label the food on each rack along with the organization that it’s going to making Waste Not Want Not a well-oiled machine
“I think it’s amazing to see all this perfectly good food that we as a society would just throw away but to prevent that. It’s great for feeding people, obviously, it’s also very good for the environment, we’re keeping it out of the landfills, we’re putting to use. The stuff that we have used water and effort to grow and to produce,” said Staudt-Killea.
It is no doubt a winning organization and a Positively Jax example of using all of our resources wisely.