So as an offshoot to The Minimalists Book Tour I wrote about, Josh and Ryan organized a group of people to volunteer at Quest Food Exchange last week. Quest is a really interesting Non-Profit with the focus of providing people with food via “a hand up, not a hand out”. At the orientation Surindra Sugrim the “Community Relations Coordinator” mentioned that right now there’s about 2x as much food on grocery stores shelves then can be actually sold so a whole ton gets thrown out. Further more, I also learned the “best before date” DOES NOT equal “expiry date”. The difference between these two dates has gotten farther and farther apart over the decades to get people to buy more, kind of like making the hole in your toothpaste tube 1cm bigger, betcha didn’t notice that did you?
Back on point, so all this food is going to get wasted, THIS is where Quest comes in.
They pickup donated food from their partners (Whole Foods etc) and redistribute it to sell at their stores at a heavy discount. Not anyone can shop there though, to be eligible to shop in one of their three locations you have to get a referral from a social service agency. Quest does have 22 full time staff but they had volunteers that logged in an excess of 16,000 hours last year alone! Additionally, clients who volunteer for 4 hours get a $16 voucher to their store (which is equivalent to $50-60 worth of groceries at a traditional supermarket).
All in all a very cool Non-Profit I had no idea existed up until last week. Want more details? Check out their website.