Food rescue program provides critical link to help those in need and reduce waste

Aubrey Alvarez, second from left, spoke at the January monthly meet-up.

Aubrey Alvarez, second from left, spoke at the January monthly meet-up.

At the January Urban Ambassadors monthly meet-up, Aubrey Alvarez with Eat Greater Des Moines, a local nonprofit that works to strengthen our region's local food system, stopped by to share information about her work on food rescue in our area.

"The amount of organic waste and food waste [people produce] is enormous when there are 1 in 5 Iowans who are hungry," Alvarez told the group.

A "food rescue" program helps determine what to do with left over food from local catering and events as well as restaurants and food services around town. Food pantries and food assistance providers need access to the food, but they don’t always have time to go collect it or knowledge of what's available. 

Eat Greater Des Moines has filled that role to make the system easier to manage. This video explains how.

Aubrey encourages you to ask caterers or venues to ask what happens to their leftover food—and she says you might be surprised that laws are in place to encourage those who have the excess food to donate it.  She said a federal law protects potential donors from liability if their food is donated to nonprofit organizations, as long as they've taken standard precautions to handle it safely.

You can support this work by volunteering to drive food around town or spreading the word about it at places where you shop and eat.  Find out how by visiting this website.

Urban Ambassadors holds monthly meet-ups the first Tuesday of each month at 6 pm to help you connect to our community.  Topics of discussion and locations vary depending on the interests of the group, but we post details each month at