ExtraFood, a county-wide food recovery nonprofit working to end hunger and food waste in Marin, delivered its 5 millionth pound of food since its founding in 2013.
The milestone was reached when our volunteers picked up a generous food donation from Nugget Markets in Corte Madera and delivered it to Marin Community Clinic’s San Rafael Health Hub, which provides food distribution and other services to low-income Marin residents. Working hand in hand with food donors, volunteers, nonprofit distribution partners, and financial partners, ExtraFood has formed a powerful network to serve Marin’s most vulnerable children, seniors and families.
ExtraFood Founder and Executive Director, Marv Zauderer says, “We are proud to be part of such an inspiring, effective, collaborative coalition of people and partners. Literally hundreds of organizations and thousands of people are working with ExtraFood to serve those among us who are struggling, to increase equitable access to fresh food, and to help heal our planet. Food waste and hunger are solvable problems in Marin, and this extraordinary community is rising up to solve them.”
Nearly 50,000 people in Marin face hunger while 35% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted. It is the No. 1 material in landfills.
ExtraFood works with distribution partners to reach people in need. Everything starts with the needs of vulnerable people in the community, and finding food donations that match those needs. Because if they have the food they need, children can learn, seniors can age in place with dignity, and adults can find jobs to lift themselves out of poverty. One of ExtraFood’s distribution partners is San Rafael’s Next Generation Scholars, which provides a variety of services that help students from low-income families gain acceptance to college. Says Executive Director Jeff Escabar, “Next Generation Scholars so appreciates the partnership with ExtraFood as the food provided is a true lifeline to our students and their families. Not having to worry about hunger allows our students to concentrate on their academic pursuits.”
ExtraFood couldn’t do the work without their passionate and caring volunteers who pick up and deliver rescued food 365 days a year. 2020 ExtraFood Volunteer of the Year Dennis Orwig says, “Knowing you are part of an organization that helps our local community by addressing food insecurity and food waste is a great honor.” Dennis and his wife Vickie do many food trips together as a team and find it very rewarding to help keep food where it belongs — on tables and not in landfills.
When an individual or family faces food insecurity, they often cannot afford foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s why ExtraFood’s food donor partnerships with businesses such as grocery stores are so important—they provide the community with nutritious food that people living in poverty would otherwise not have access to. It’s not just about providing food for vulnerable people, it’s about providing food that’s fresh and nutritious. Clarke Pomeroy is the Store Manager of Whole Foods Market in Mill Valley and says, “We sell really high-quality food to people and that’s part of our mission. But we have a lot of people in Marin who don’t have access to that for many different reasons. Being able to get the same high-quality food to them through ExtraFood is amazing.”
Although this milestone is a huge accomplishment, there are many more people in Marin needing food on their tables. ExtraFood’s vision is that food recovery will be a way of life in Marin: to enroll every possible business and school in their program and capture every possible pound of excess fresh food for people in need. ExtraFood, along with their volunteers, partners, and funders, is working towards the day when everyone in Marin has the food they need.
How the Community Can Help:
• Make a gift to ExtraFood.org: Your investment has a double impact on hunger and the environment: give.extrafood.org.
• If you’re a business or school, you can donate your excess food to people in need. It’s free, easy and makes a difference: goingplaces.extrafood.org.