Smart Kitchens San Diego Food Recovery Agencies Selected!

Smart Kitchens San Diego, a food waste reduction and recovery initiative spearheaded by the San Diego Food System Alliance and funded by CalRecycle through California Climate Investments, celebrated a big step this week.

We had the joy of honoring The Foundry, Heaven's Windows, People Assisting the Homeless, and New Alternatives Inc as the official food recovery partners for Smart Kitchens San Diego. These four agencies will make good use of the cargo vans and commercial coolers they received through the Smart Kitchens San Diego initiative. They'll recover unwasted food from Smart Kitchens food donors around San Diego County - including the Padres at Petco Park, Park Hyatt Aviara, and Palomar Health - and will distribute this nutritious food to their community members in need.

A huge congratulations to the agencies selected for this partnership! Check out the event recording on Facebook, and many thanks to the San Diego Food Bank for hosting the ceremony.

The Foundry, a food pantry located in Escondido, sees 15 - 20 new families each week walking through their pantry doors. The cargo van and commercial cooler will help them meet this growing need with nutritious food!

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Infectious smiles exude from the Heaven's Windows team as they accept the keys to their van and Smart Kitchens decal for their commercial cooler. Angela Kretschmar, director of Heaven's Windows, stated "everyone in this room has one thing in common - we all want to serve somebody and help somebody - and we all want to work together." We couldn't agree more!

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People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) is on a mission to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities by providing wrap-around services to the homeless. They serve 150 residents with two meals a day, 365 days a year. That's 109,500 meals per year - 109,500 meals which, thanks to their new cargo van, will now include prepared food from Smart Kitchens San Diego donor participants like the Padres.

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Wondering who will be driving PATH's cargo van? Glad you asked! Participants from New Alternatives Inc (NAI) will be trained as drivers for Smart Kitchens San Diego, providing them an employment opportunity with professional growth potential. NAI provides transitional housing and services to at-risk youth terming out of foster care. The commercial cooler will allow NAI case managers to give delicious food to the participants during weekly visits.

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We look forward to working together to reduce food waste in San Diego County while increasing distribution of healthy food to those in need.

Smart Kitchens San Diego is funded by a grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments.

Post by Geertje Grootenhuis, Project Coordinator for Food Waste Reduction & Recovery