Landfills are emptier and stomaches are fuller as Leftover Foundation Rescue Food matches food services with people in need.
The organization takes food that would potentially expire soon and upcycles it with an agency that helps feed people in the city.
"I basically match up donors with service agencies and build the relationships that we need to fill the service agencies that are feeding people full of food. We are on a mission to keep food that is edible out of the landfill," says Brandy Bobier, the City Lead Coordinator for Leftovers Foundation Rescue Food in Manitoba.
The non-profit organization started in Calgary eight years ago. It then opened up in Edmonton four years ago. In 2019 the company reached national funding status. It was then that Bobier started to talk through how to bring this organization into Winnipeg and help rescue good food that can be directed into hungry mouths rather than the garbage.
In October 2020, a Leftovers Foundation Rescue Food was opened up in Winnipeg.
For roughly 20 years Bobier has been helping in some regard to bringing food to those in need so when she heard about the organization, it was something she wanted to be a part of.
"It was the passion I have for food. I left residential and commercial construction about four years ago to start a catering business."
Back then Bobier had a few phone conversations with the organization out in Alberta, about bringing the same model into Winnipeg. It was something she was passionate about. When the idea was just in the funding stages, COVID-19 hit, which meant her catering business went quiet.
Bobier took that time to focus on the non-profit, helping bring them to Manitoba.
"We did a lot of wedding cakes and corporate and event catering. All that was done and it allowed me the time to spend at the computer to work with the folks in Calgary to get our funding in place through the Winnipeg Foundation and other grants."
Leftovers Foundation Rescue Food was launched in Winnipeg on World Food Day, October 16, 2020.
"The first full month of reporting, without having our own warehouse, without a three-ton truck, we were able to redirect over 16,000 lbs of food that would have gone into the landfill. Just with volunteers using their vehicles."
After reading over documents and filling out a form, any place of business that may have excess food at the end of a day or week can become a donor with Leftover Foundation Rescue Food.
"We have a mobile app where anyone can sign up to become a volunteer, and they are our drivers," says Bobier.
Once a donor is matched up with an agency, through the app they can arrange regular days and times for a volunteer driver to pick up the leftovers and bring them to a place that feeds people in need.
Restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, grocery stores, and food producers are all able to donate their inventory that might expire soon. Two large food distributors have agreed to donate their leftovers and it has is distributed to multiple agencies.
"Primarily, the people who benefit from this would be the families and individuals who receive food hampers or people who are in marginalized communities. Basically, anyone who is feeling food insecurity issues on a number of different levels. Our environment is benefiting too because we're keeping a lot of CO2 gases out of the air."
Roughly a week ago, a Winnipeg restaurant jumped on board with Leftovers.
"St. James Burger and Chip Co are an everyday donor. A volunteer will call them and if they have a donation, a volunteer will come and pick it up. They drop it off at the Spence Neighbourhood Association WestEnd 24/7 Safe Space because they serve a meal to anyone who shows up at 11 o'clock at night."
We’re very excited to announce that we’re working with the amazing company Leftovers Rescue Food ♥️ every day they check...Posted by St. James Burger & Chip Co. on Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Bobier says her job is a bit of a balancing act between having donors to give food and agencies who need it.
"Right now we're looking for more daytime volunteers and more donors. We had six new agencies sign up," says Bobier.
For businesses who want to join in, they can contact Bobier on their website.