Diane Curran, TPSS Co-op Board President
With edits by Cheryl Kollin (CFR)
As Earth Day approaches, I am especially proud of one particular way in which the Co-op combines environmental stewardship and community service: our partnership with Community Food Rescue (CFR). CFR, a program of Manna Food Center, is an extraordinary food rescue network. Since its launch in 2015, CFR has distributed more than 5 million pounds of food from producers and providers to hunger relief organizations, houses of worship, and food pantries throughout Montgomery County. The need is great: according to the Montgomery County Food Security Plan, 63,000 Montgomery County residents struggle with food insecurity and one of every three children in our public schools qualify for free or reduced-price meals. CFR relies on volunteers to transport food; to learn more about CFR and to volunteer on your own schedule, visit their website at www.communityfoodrescue.org.
Serving the Community — Since December 2017, the Co-op has donated 13,953 pounds of food to Community Food Rescue, which adds up to 11,125 meals. Thus, a significant quantity of food the Co-op could not sell – for instance, produce that was past perfection but still usable, packaged items nearing their sell-by dates, food that did not sell – got used by people who needed it.
Protecting the Environment — At the same time, we helped to protect the environment by diverting unused food from disposal to use. Unused food in Montgomery County accounts for nearly 146,000 tons (23%) of our solid waste. Wasted food contributes to greenhouse gas pollution and wastes the land, water, and energy that was used to produce the food. Our 13,953 tons of donated food, diverted from the solid waste stream, avoided 15 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – or the equivalent of 36,765 miles driven in a passenger car.
Please join the Co-op in our traditional Earth Day celebration – Saturday April 20 from 11 to 4 p.m. – with a great lineup of speakers and musicians – and wonderful food offerings. Hear Earth Day messages from MD Comptroller Peter Franchot, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, MD Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, County Executive Marc Elrich, farmer Mike Tabor, and activist Lori Hill – and listen to great music from Katy Gaughan, Mr. Lilo, and Valentine Slim. Community Food Rescue and other groups will be there to share information and demonstrations.
And please continue to send us your comments and concerns, helping us to serve you and care for the planet in more and better ways!