RLC Blog
May 24 2019
May 24, 2019

Exciting news! We were featured on the Rachael Ray Show! It was a surreal experience, and an absolute honor to be highlighted by Rachael Ray along with the incredible support from her foundation.

We are encouraged by all the kind words of support that have flooded in, and we remain committed to rescuing even more food on a regular basis so that more food insecure people can get a meal! 

Aug 22 2019
Aug 22, 2019

According to State rankings by volunteer rate put together by the Corporation for National and Community Service, New York State is ranked 49th with only a 19.25% volunteerism rate in New York State. 

Now, time is a precious thing. I get it. But we could do better, and what better way to spend time than to help people with it?  

Everyone has heard that volunteering can be a truly rewarding experience. In some cases, some volunteers gain contacts helpful for their career, while others gain friendships with common interests. At the end of the day, volunteering boosts self-esteem, helps people feel the satisfaction of doing good, and brings together people from all kinds of backgrounds to get a common goal achieved. Here's what one of our volunteers had to say: 

My son, a rising high school junior at Dalton, has been doing food rescue this summer while he has been in the city. He really loves it and the people he has met along the way. A lot of college students have been his team leaders. RLC has really created a way for kids like those college students and my son who have busy school/sports/extracurricular activities to make maximum impact with the odd open hours they have available. I love it! We even rescued together a couple of times. Great mother/son bonding time! 
                                                                                            - Gina

 

But sometimes the process to start volunteering is made onerous. This is typically because although the intent of volunteerism is noble, the actuality is sometimes more urgent and higher priority things come up and volunteers are flaky. Volunteering comes last, and organizations that rely on volunteers to do their mission need to impose some standards to uphold their level of service. Thus a series of interviews, and a long-drawn out process becomes required for people to even become volunteers in some cases. 

We at Rescuing Leftover Cuisine have strived to strike a balance between making it easy (as easy as three clicks in fact!) to volunteer and ensuring that we are providing a consistent level of food rescue services for our food donors and human services agencies. Our volunteering is also short - just 30 minutes of someone's time to rescue food that would otherwise be in the trash. This allows even the busiest people with the craziest work schedules and life circumstances to be able to find a 30 minute timeslot on our calendar to give back. 

Once you're signed up, it's as easy as walking with a few bags of food: 

 

Whether you volunteer currently or not, give it a shot!  

I hope to see you out on a food rescue and help get our volunteerism up! 

- Robert Lee

Jul 09 2019
Jul 09, 2019

While RLC was formed and has roots in New York City, we are aiming to become a widely used solution to eliminate food waste in communities around the USA. We are proud to support RLC branches, with the latest in Columbus, OH. Terrence, Nicole and Genevieve, who have founded the Columbus branch, wrote to us to describe their motivation to tackle food insecurity and the process for setting up an RLC branch.

The team told us how food insecurity was identified as an issue, and described their personal connections to it:

“The Near-East side of Columbus is a vibrant neighborhood with lots of history and diversity, but many of the families and community agencies in the area have varying connections to food insecurity. One of our neighborhood leaders was reviewing national trends for addressing the problem of food waste and learned about Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. The idea to develop a Columbus branch was quickly embraced by our group. We discussed how each of us had been impacted by food insecurity and to now have the capacity to be a part of the solution is a wonderful opportunity.”

They described how their personal challenges motivated them to make a difference in their community:

“One of our team members was going through a difficult time and began to remind themselves that they could funnel that energy into something good… In [RLC], the answer to getting out of a personal slump was provided, but equally as important, an opportunity to make positive contributions to the city we love was borne.”

After identifying RLC as a solution for their community, the team began the process of setting up a branch, which they described to us:

“It has been a rewarding, yet challenging experience… Since starting our branch, we have found many within the city who support the efforts and are able to connect eliminating food waste… Like all new initiatives, it has been a labor of love to connect with vendors and identify the needs of local shelters, agencies for youth and elderly, and community centers to sustain our efforts… We were fortunate to have champions like Julialynne and Keith Walker who provide a weekly community meal through Bethany Presbyterian Church and have been our most consistent donors and partners… We look forward to engaging more volunteers and increasing our time in service to community agencies within our community. Eliminating food waste and hunger are significant goals… Yet, we also have an additional passion to remember the faces and community talents that can easily be overlooked or made to feel shame. Through service, we seek to understand the stories behind the epidemic of hunger and to remember that working to resolve this issue is the only option.”

It has been a great start for the newest RLC branch, and we are incredibly thankful for the awesome work of the Columbus team, who are making a real impact in their community, and will be supporting people for a long time in the future. As they said to us:

“The sky's the limit and we are reaching for it!”

Apr 12 2019
Apr 12, 2019

The little things add up, as does the rain in a drizzle, so that the little things amount to a big thing.

I like to share this Korean proverb because this truly applies to all aspects of our work at Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. We as an organization got started because we believe that smaller quantities of food that were not being picked up by other organizations could and should be rescued so that it could make a difference in someone's life.

We also believe that in a small amount of time, often just thirty minutes, a volunteer could bring much needed sustenance to someone who is hungry.

We believe the smaller homeless shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, and community centers that do not have the storage space to receive large donation sizes could also make large impact in their local communities. 

All of the small actions along this journey have contributed to Rescuing Leftover Cuisine rescuing a cumulative 3,100,000 pounds of food rescued and over 2.5 million meals provided to the hungry. Every little bit really adds up, and we want you to know that you can help. 

For this month, in celebrating the power of small, we have partnered with an initiative called 1Million1s. Every month, this initiative will choose an innovative, community-based non-profit organization founded by a Millennial. 1Million1s' members commit to monthly donations, starting at $1 per month, and the gifts are combined into one large donation that is donated to that month's recipient. This innovative way to engage Millennials and disrupt philanthropy while bringing new voices and resources to the table is inspiring. As Michael Doyle, one of the founders of this initiative says, "By building an online community and leveraging collective giving, every dollar really does make a difference.”

Join us in this little way, and contribute to making a big difference. 

Mar 20 2019
Mar 20, 2019

My personal journey in cooking for myself started when I started working full-time at JPMorgan. You see, I was fortunate (or unfortunate?) enough to have had a scholarship that paid for a meal plan all throughout college, but left to my own devices I made ham and cheese sandwiches I brought to work. 

After leaving my job at JPMorgan to work on Rescuing Leftover Cuisine full-time, I started to explore the most inexpensive ways to get meals taken care of, which involved a lot of pasta. Throughout the five years now that I've been full-time with RLC, I have learned a lot in the kitchen. My team can tell you all about my foibles in the kitchen (including things like scissors to a carrot)! 

So it would not be a surprise to you that I never owned an apron. When we were approached by a group that wanted to sell handcrafted aprons that provided jobs to women in poverty in India while supporting RLC with the profits from these aprons, I was blown away. Here's what they had to say: 

When you buy an apron, you're going to want to wear it as a cape. After all, you will have...

  • Reduced food waste
  • Fed 100 people a nutrition meal
  • Helped employ poor women, and 
  • Fed their families.

That's pretty super!!!

We’re Cooks Who Feed and we’re on a mission to fight hunger by reducing food waste.  We produce handcrafted aprons and for every apron sold, 100 people receive a nutritious meal.  We fulfill this promise by working with our charity partners who prevent food waste and provide meals to those in need.  We’re honored to have Rescuing Leftover Cuisine as one of our partner charities.

We put a lot of focus on running our business in an ethical manner. Some of the things we focus on are reducing our production waste, using scrap fabric for packaging instead of plastic and only using local, organic and sustainably sourced fabrics to make our aprons. We’re also socially responsible when it comes to our production team. We work with WORK+SHELTER, an NGO in India that hires women who live in poverty. The NGO provides these women with paid training, a fair wage, and income security. We’re proud to partner with WORK+SHELTER and work with their team of artisans exclusively to produce all of our products. 

Please consider supporting their kickstarter campaign
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/741405375/cooks-who-feed-fighting-hunger-by-reducing-food-wa?ref=project_link 

Join me in becoming a cook who feeds! 

Best,
Robert 

Mar 07 2018
Mar 07, 2018

Pictured above are two bags filled with 30 pounds of bagels, donated by the Long Island Bagel Cafe in the Financial District to the NY Rescue Mission. 

The Long Island Bagel Cafe is a brand-new partner that started donating their extra bagels at closing time this past week. As we start to grow this particular route, our series of information sessions in the coming months will help us get the word out about what we do, get more people on board, and make sure that this extra food can make it to those in need.

And that is the core of our approach to food rescue: local, community-based, and sustainable. The routes are a quick and easy walk through a neighborhood, starting from one restaurant and ending at a particular homeless shelter or food bank. There are no minimum weight requirements; we carry anything and everything that is whole and would otherwise have gone to waste. And every little bit counts. 

As we continue to search for opportunities to grow the organization and make sure that no food in New York goes to waste, we are grateful for what we have achieved so far. And we are excited for what the future holds.