Gaithersburg-based nonprifits Nourish Now and Manna Food Center were among the regional organizations represented in a work group that will study the costs and logistics for a countywide "food recovery program."
In October, Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Dist 5) proposed the idea, which would redistribute would-be wasted food to people in need. The concept gained momentum Tuesday when the County Council approved a work group to study costs and logistics for a food recovery program.
Ervin said the idea was inspired by the work of two University of Maryland students.
Maryland's program, called the Food Recovery Network, collects unused food from events like football games and alumni parties, and redistributes the food to hungry people. The group has donated more than 30,000 meals.
The work group is comprised of county government and school officials and representatives from local food banks, grocery store chains and nonprofits. Montgomery County native and co-founder of the Food Recovery Network Ben Simon was also appointed to the group.
Hunger may be a growing problem in the county.
Manna, the county's largest food distribution center, endorsed the program citing "continuing demand" for its services. A release from the council said that applications for public assistance are higher in Montgomery County than ever before. More students in the county are also receiving free and reduced meals at school than in the past.
“The food recovery initiative will not only help our area non-profit organizations who fight hunger, but should also reduce the amount of food that ends up in our waste stream,” said Ervin. “In my mind, this initiative is a win-win as those who donate food receive tax benefits and those in need receive healthy meals.”
The group is tasked with creating a plan for how to implement food recovery in the county. Members will submit an interim report to the council no later than March 31 and a final report by July 1.
Organizations involved in the work group include:
- Anne Sheridan of Share our Strength
- Ben Simon of the Food Recovery Network
- Brett Myers of Nourish Now
- Jackie Coyle of Shepherd's Table
- Jeremy Criss of the County’s Department of Economic Development
- Kate Garvey of County’s Department of Health and Human Services
- Kathi Carey-Fletcher of Montgomery College
- Barry F. Scher of the Capital Area Food Bank
- Lindsay Smith of Montgomery County Food Policy Council
- Marie Henderson of the Interfaith Works
- Mark Bergel of A Wider Circle
- Marla Caplon of Montgomery County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services;
- Michele Dudley of Crossroads Farmer's Market
- Minerva Delgado of Manna Food Center
- Patricia Drumming of Rainbow Community Development Center
- Sarah Cunningham of Maryland Restaurant Association
- James Perkins of Giant Food, LLC
- Gregory Ten Eyck of Safeway, Inc.
- Craig M. Shniderman of Food and Friends
- Richard Jackson of the County’s Department of General Services
Germantow Patch Editor Tiffany Arnold contributed to this post.