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Community Plates Saves Food from Local Landfills

Walker Evans Walker Evans Community Plates Saves Food from Local LandfillsA "runner" from Community Plates picks up produce from Rock Dove Farm.
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Community Plates was launched in 2011 with a very simple goal: to get food to people in need. Founder Jeff Schacher recognized a huge discrepancy between the amount of food being thrown away each day by restaurants and grocery stores, and the amount of food needed in local pantries and shelters. So he created Community Plates as a platform to get a network of volunteers involved in the logistics of delivering food from where it is not needed to where it is needed.

The organization was launched in Norwalk Connecticut, but now has involvement in five different communities, including Columbus, which has been in operation since 2012.

“We pick up from over 30 locations and deliver to 18 local food pantries and the numbers keep growing,” said Columbus Site Director Susan Keiser-Smith. “We currently pick up from Snowville Creamery, Pistacia Vera, Katzinger’s Deli, Chipotle, Panera Bread, City BBQ, The North Market, Starbucks, Sassafras Bakery, zpizza, Two Caterers, Rock Dove Farm and more on a weekly basis.”

Community Plates also provides their services for less-frequent or event-based pickups. Following this year’s Peletonia event, Keiser-Smith and her local team collected over 5,000 pounds of unused food and distributed it to local pantries and shelters that include Faith Mission, Stowe Mission, Hazel’s House of Hope and the Run the Race Club.

“Since our launch in Columbus in 2012, we have rescued 519,700 meals at a value of $857,505, which translates to 779,550 pounds of food that has not gone into the landfill,” said Alison Sherman, Director of Communications at Community Plates. She said that the efforts are due to the nearly 144 active volunteer “food runners” in the region that help with the program.

Community Plates is hosting a local fundraiser tomorrow, October 23rd, at the Everal Barn and Homestead in Westerville, where the efforts of the organization will be celebrated.

“Our fundraiser is a chance to our runners, partners and donors and supporters to meet face to face,” said Keiser-Smith. “It’s also a great opportunity to find out more Community Plates. We have over 100 runners and I’d like to double that number next year.”

For more information about the organization and fundraiser, visit www.communityplates.org/ffa14-cbus/.

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